cover image Hermelin the Detective Mouse

Hermelin the Detective Mouse

Mini Grey. Knopf, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-385-75433-0

Hermelin, a mouse whose cream-colored coat mimics the rind of his namesake cheese, solves mysteries along a quaint British byway known as Offley Street. Hermelin lives in the attic of No. 33. Downstairs, a girl named Emily shakes a box of Crunchy Flakes and complains, “Hmm—no free gift again.” Upstairs, Hermelin observes the neighborhood through binoculars “I’d found in my breakfast cereal that morning.” Hmm, indeed. That day, homeowners tack urgent memos to the Offley Street notice board: Parsley the cat and Lucky the goldfish are missing, along with valuable personal items. Busybody Hermelin knows the whereabouts of each lost thing, and he uses an antique typewriter to tap helpful notes to the owners. Grey (Toys in Space) tells this brisk story in a lively combination of expository statements, voice balloons, and Hermelin’s typed messages; Hermelin, speaking in the first person, could be a distant cousin to the literary rodent of Robert Lawson’s Ben and Me. Grey’s wit sparkles in her concise storytelling and detail-rich comic images of a no-nonsense mouse. Ages 5–8. Agent: Hilary Delamere, the Agency. (Aug.)