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Mouse Guard: The Black Axe Hardcover – July 23, 2013
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Petersen’s intricate medieval world of wee warring animals gets a prequel to the main story line of Fall 1152 (2007) and Winter 1152 (2009). In 1115, the gruff old hermit warrior Celanawe was a much younger mouse and embarks on a treacherous quest across a sea and into unmapped ferret territory to find the fabled Black Axe. Though Black Axe works well enough as a stand-alone adventure, Celanawe’s origin story promises plenty of revelation to readers familiar with Mouse Guard lore. Still, both newcomers and fans alike will find much to explore in Petersen’s finely wrought artwork, high-stakes intrigue, and derring-do tale. Grades 5-8. --Ian Chipman
About the Author
David Petersen was born in 1977. His artistic career soon followed. A steady diet of cartoons, comics and tree climbing fed his imagination and is what still inspires his work today. David was the 2007 Russ Manning Award recipient for Most Promising Newcomer, and in 2008 won Eisner Awards for Best Publication for Kids (Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 & Winter 1152) and Best Graphic Album – Reprint (Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 Hardcover). He received his BFA in Printmaking from Eastern Michigan University where he met his wife Julia. They continue to reside in Michigan with their dog Autumn
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Top Customer Reviews
But do yourself a favor and do not read the preface before you've read the book - it spoilers the ENTIRE STORY! It gives away every twist and surprising moment. (It also reads like its written by a five year old, and contains no interesting content or insight, basically extending to "I like this book," but that's neither here nor there.)
I was lucky enough to be warned by friends, but I know people who were really disappointed to have the story spoilered like that. Do yourself two favors: 1) buy this book, because it's great, and 2) don't read the preface.
The artwork is probably my favorite part of this story. Don't get me wrong the story is great as well, but the artwork is still stunning. Beautiful watercolor drawings that just capture enough detail in the characters and their surrounding to make them seem real, especially the depiction of the fur of all of the various creatures that appear. In this book David brings his skill to depicting some of the larger four legged hunters for the first time. I love the depiction of their armor and how its made up of skulls of dead animals, crab shells, and even fish and the little details that David adds to the depictions to make it come to life. I especially like the level of detail in the duck that shows up to help them escape, it's absolutely beautifully done. I don't think I've discussed it before, but David captures the movement of the characters well...those little details that help the characters feel real and alive that help us connect with them better. The little movements as they try to make their way silently away from the weasels are done fantastically. This is still the type of book that I can just sit down with for hours on end and look at all of the details in the illustrations.
This again is a gripping tale and has just the right mix of drama to keep readers interested without being overwhelming with so much going on. David creates a pace to the tale that is pitch perfect, always making you want more. And that subtle tension that we see in the previous two volumes remains and is there at the very beginning of the story and continues to build throughout the book.This tale is a bit darker and younger readers might be a bit upset about what happens to a couple of the characters, but they should still enjoy it and finding out about the Black Axe.
This is just a fantastic story and I would recommend it for all ages, because it has a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy. I can't wait to read the next volume in the series.
There's a real (or unreal) charm to this story. The quest story is a familiar form, but this one is well done. Of course, the classic literary conflict, mouse against fox, is always the foundation for a good tail ... er ... tale. Once the quest is complete, the story becomes one of human interest ... er, mouse interest ... as the story recasts one of the characters in a tragic light.
The finely detailed drawings of mice wielding tools and weapons, sailing ships and flying on the backs of birds, make it easy to believe in the fantasy world that Mouse Guard creates. It's a world worth revisiting.