cover image The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail

The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail

Richard Peck, illus. by Kelly Murphy. Dial, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3838-6

As endearing as Peck’s Secrets at Sea, this companion novel, also set during the Victorian era and accompanied by Murphy’s carefully detailed pencil illustrations, introduces a new cast of memorable mice born and bred in London. At center stage is narrator Mouse Minor, an undersize orphan with a question mark–shaped tail, who is uncertain of his heritage. Raised in the Royal Mews next to Buckingham Palace by skilled needlemice, Mouse Minor attends a prestigious school but is tormented by his classmates. When Mouse Minor learns that two bullies “meant to pound me into a jelly,” he flees beyond familiar territory and ends up in the palace, where the staff is frantically preparing for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. All the while, Mouse Minor is unaware that spies are tracking his every move. The small hero’s brushes with danger and run-ins with royalty (both human and rodent) unfold with Peck’s characteristic wit and flair for adventure. Readers will gleefully suspend disbelief as they trace Mouse Minor’s exciting journey, which draws him to a life-altering revelation and surprise reunions with friends and foes. Ages 8–12. (July)