cover image Three Terrible Trins: ALA Notable Children's Book

Three Terrible Trins: ALA Notable Children's Book

Dick King-Smith. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15 (105pp) ISBN 978-0-517-59828-3

""At six o'clock on the morning of her birthday, Mrs. Gray's husband was killed and eaten."" With his customary panache, King-Smith (Babe: The Gallant Pig; Harry's Mad) grabs the reader's attention from his opening sentence. And, sustaining his understated wit and rollicking pace throughout this breezy novel, the author never loosens his grip. Because this is the third husband she has lost (""I really know how to pick 'em""), Mrs. Gray-a mouse who, living in the attic, belongs to the highest of Orchard Farm's four social strata-vows she will never marry again. Instead, she pledges to devote her time to the education and upbringing of Thomas, Richard and Henry, her three ""trins"" (``another word for triplets''). Under her firm but loving tutelage, the gutsy brothers distinguish themselves among the house's mouse population and manage (in several funny scenes) to get rid of the farm's feline occupants. And when the trins inadvertently find their mother a new husband-a Cellarmouse who is worthy despite his lowly birth-the author subtly lets an vital message shine through the merriment. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 7-12. (Oct.)