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.
*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