From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8–A 10-year-old girl is lost in a surrealistic landscape–a red-earth desert threatened by an approaching storm. Nothing looks familiar. She can't remember how she got to this place. Alternating with this classic bad-dream setting, which is narrated in the third person, is a first-person, furious tirade by a girl who feels abandoned by her father and neglected by her mother. Readers will be intrigued by the way Matti interweaves these stories and tantalizes with the possible connections between them. At first, the novel is like a puzzle mystery, but as it begins to make more and more sense, readers recognize that the stories are one story about anger and forgiveness, loss and grief, and consolation. Matti takes readers on an enigmatic journey through a landscape that encompasses the profundities of life and death and of love that transcends all boundaries. Remarkable and arresting and wholly original, this novel lingers in the mind long after the last page has been read.Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
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Fantasy and realism blend in this debut novel, translated from the Dutch, about a young girl trying to come to terms with her beloved father's sudden death. In the first chapter, a girl named Mouse finds herself in a hotel, where a capable, talking fox and rat show her around. Then the novel switches to the realistic, present-tense, first-person drama of a girl grieving for her musician father, who died while on a concert trip. Is his death her fault? Was he upset by her furious letter that raged at him for not making it back home in time for her 11th birthday? Even fantasy fans will find the animal plotline too long and repetitive. But the bereavement story is riveting, not only the universals of sadness, guilt, and anger, but also the secrets that are revealed, especially when the girl finds the tender, funny letters that her father wrote to her that talk about the games they shared. Grades 5-8. --Hazel Rochman
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