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The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail Hardcover – July 2, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-6-Mouse Minor is the smallest mouse in the Royal Mews of Queen Victoria's Buckingham Palace. Raised by kindly Aunt Marigold, he has no real family. He doesn't even have a proper name-just a nickname. All he knows is that his mother was not a Mews mouse and that his oddly twisted tail marks him as different from his classmates at the Royal Mews Mouse Academy. Mouse Minor violates a cardinal rule of mouse society by accidentally allowing a human to see him dressed in his school uniform. Disgraced, he runs away, hoping to find some clues about who he is and where he came from. His quest takes him from the stables to the palace parade grounds to Victoria's private chambers, but even the great Queen herself can't give him all the answers he seeks. Set against the background of the 1897 Diamond Jubilee, the story portrays a secret animal society existing in the shadows of the human world. Mice, cats, horses, and other creatures have schools, armies, titles, and industries. Cultural attitudes and social ranks parallel the human ones, although because of the difference in life spans, the animal society moves a bit faster. Attractive mouse's-eye-view drawings help establish the relationship between these two halves of Victorian society. With a plucky hero, exciting plot, and a satisfying, if somewhat predictable resolution, Peck's latest is a gentle homage to old-school adventure tales.-Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, ILα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* There is a basic philosophy underlying this sweet mouse-out-in-the-world story: “For every human on earth, there is a mouse doing the same job, and doing it better.” A tiny, unnamed mouse, with notched ears and a tail that falls naturally into the shape of a question mark, attends the Royal Mews Mouse Academy, taught by toothy headmaster B. Chiroptera. But after being bullied by other mice and driven by the essential question of his identity, the mouse leaves the academy and hatches a rather unformed plan to visit ancient Queen Victoria, awaiting her Diamond Jubilee, in the hopes that the all-knowing monarch can tell him who he is. Along the way to Buckingham Palace, he rides in the ear of a horse named Peg (it’s very waxy), falls into a punch bowl (it’s very pink), and meets a cast of mice—and bats—who serve the queen. Murphy’s black-and-white illustrations, with pulled quote captions, add charm in spades, and there’s one tipped-in full-color illustration in each of the book’s three main parts. You can’t help but make comparisons to some other very famous books about mice, namely Kate DiCamillo’s The Tale of Despereaux (2003) and E. B. White’s Stuart Little, but the parallel world of mice and humans also echoes Mary Norton’s The Borrowers (1952). Peck (A Year Down Yonder, 2000) is terrific in relaying small details, like the intricacy of mouse uniforms, and this clever yarn should delight fans of animal adventure stories. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Peck is a Newbery Award winner for A Year Down Yonder and a two-time National Book Award finalist. This may be a book about a tiny mouse, but it’ll be big on everyone’s radar. Grades 3-5. --Ann Kelley
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dial; First Edition edition (July 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803738382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803738386
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 30 customer reviews
A wonderful book to sit and read with a child.
gcdcpakmbs
She is nine years old and really loves to read BUT she extremely picky and this was an A++ reating from her.
JoAnna Shaw
The writing is superb and the stories are fresh and unique.
Karen Bayer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. Williams VINE VOICE on July 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Richard Peck's THE MOUSE WITH THE QUESTION MARK TAIL takes young readers (about grades three through five) on a tale (pun) of self-discovery of a mouse who lives in Victorian England. The poor mouse is a nobody; he doesn't even really have a name and is raised by mice he considers aunts.

When this poor mouse starts school, he is called "Mouse Minor" and seems to find nothing but trouble. He ends up fleeing for his life. But Queen Victoria herself notices something about this little fellow, and he learns who he is and where he came from.

The style is spot-on for the time, place, point of view (the mouse's) and intended age group. The time setting is perfect for showing readers what Peck intends for them to learn; the Victorian era was all about who people were and who their families were.

The title for my review says it all: Adorable!

Who I am: a college instructor of English who also has a library science degree

How I came to have my copy: Advance copy from the publisher
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Daphne Jones on July 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Much like his previous mouse adventure, Secrets at Sea (also recommended), Richard Peck's "The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail" is rife with whimsical language, mouse-centric descriptions, and snappy dialogue. It's at times poignant and it's always exciting. And from the first page, young readers will be drawn into the mystery.

Like so many great children's books, "The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail" is at its heart a tale (tail?) of self-discovery. It's a strange and lovely journey with an A-plus payoff at the end. Richard Peck might have another Newbery Medal winner here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JoAnna Shaw on October 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My granddaughrt loved this book. She stayed with it and read it in 2 days. She is nine years old and really loves to read BUT she extremely picky and this was an A++ reating from her.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Yvonne Mastrapa on October 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My son and I read this book together and we both LOVED it! The author is so witty and the book keeps you intrigued with all its' twists and turns. The surprise ending was the icing on the cake :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maggie Knapp on August 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a lovely, fun tale of Mouse Minor, an undersized mouse who lives in the Royal Mews during the time of Queen Victoria. The mice have a rich life of their own, complete with school, clothing, careers and ambitions. Mouse Minor was raised by an Aunty, and isn't at all sorry to say an early good bye to school and experience life inside and outside Buckingham Palace. He makes some unusual friends and finds out a secret about his past! A rollicking adventure for readers (and parents) who need a break from spies, gunfire, explosions and virtual reality story lines. Perfect for 4th graders to read by themselves, or for snuggling up as a bedtime story for the slightly younger crowd. I did not see the all final artwork, but I saw several of Kelly Murphy's detailed black and white illustrations. The finished book plans charming full page illustrations every 10 pages or so, including several in full color.

About me: I'm a middle school/high school librarian
How I got this book: given to me by a friend
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Heather on October 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well-written and at times whimsical, i was a little disappointed nonetheless in this book. I am sure that it would be excellent to read aloud to a child, but as an adult who adores children's literature, i was not especially engaged and easily put it down to read over three separate sittings. It was very difficult to identify with the protagonist and since this is a first-person narrated tale, that was a problem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lynne flora margolies on March 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My nine-year-old grandson recommended this book to me. He was doing a report on the author and I wanted to read something by him. The book is entertaining and very well-written. I intend to read more by Richard Peck.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The story was slow to read but very charming. I liked it by the end of the book. Just keep reading.
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