cover image The School Mouse

The School Mouse

Dick King-Smith, Cynthia Fisher. Hyperion Books, $13.95 (123pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0036-0

Of all the mice occupying the schoolhouse, only young Flora is interested in eavesdropping on the lessons taught to human children. Little by little, she begins to make sense out of the black scrawls in books. Realizing the benefits of education (which includes recognizing the word ``poison'' on a bag of pellets), Flora refuses to leave her place of study when her family decides to migrate to the field. Flora is lonely until a handsome white mouse named Buck enters the scene. But before long her family returns, in need of Flora's teaching. Both eager and reluctant readers will relish Flora's quest to become educated as well as her amusing exchanges with her scruffy, tailless father, Ragged Robin; her no-nonsense mother, Hyacinth; and fastidious, nearsighted Buck, all of whose traits are hilariously embellished in Fisher's imaginative illustrations. As always, King-Smith's lovable animal characters reveal truths about human nature. His rendition of Flora as a misunderstood scholar is as charming as his portrayal of Babe the gallant pig. Ages 7-10. (Oct.)