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Mouse Guard : Fall 1152 Hardcover – July 21, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Here's a distinct comic book image: mice with capes and swords defending themselves against their predators as if they were the Knights of the Round Table. It's a gimmick, but one that Petersen plays completely straight. His art is a perfect mix of the realistic and the fantastic: the mice and other animals always look realistic no matter how adventurous the situations get, including facing snakes and crabs in the first two chapters. Petersen doesn't let things get overly cute, either. These mice are fierce, dedicated fighters, and the violence their job entails is not forgotten. While the book always looks good, the story is pretty thin. The action is never boring but in the beginning it never moves the plot forward. Soon a plot about a traitor in the guard kicks in, leading to some exciting moments covered too briefly, and the character development is thin as well. Luckily, the art makes up for the storytelling shortcomings—Petersen's character designs are enormously appealing, and the book is hard to put down for that reason. The story is suitable for all ages, and kids in particular should enjoy this adventure. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Mouse Guard protects its fellow creatures and patrols the passageways used between the villages of the Mouse Territories. In this tale, three members of the guard investigate the disappearance of a traveling grain merchant. During their quest for the truth, the three uncover a plot to attack Lockhaven, the home of the guard; fight hungry snakes; escape a fiery death; and find a long-lost hero. Petersen has crafted an involving graphic-novel fantasy, populated with realistic-looking mice wearing colorful capes and wielding wicked weaponry. His lush colors and vivid settings give the story a majestic quality fit for a large canvas (or, perhaps, even a movie screen), and the characters are as bold as the brush strokes. The story line is, however, weaker than the art, which keeps the book from being truly great. Even so, this will probably circulate well among graphic-novel fans and may even attract readers who enjoy the Redwall books. King, Kevin
Top customer reviews
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The hardcover uses good quality paper, and is well bound. It handles reading very well without issues or concerns about it standing up over time. The jacket has held up well and the book also looks great without the jacket. I look forward to picking up the rest of the series.
Highly recommended for children, especially fans of fantasy and anthropomorphic animals. Also enjoyable for adults.
Much like the lush worlds of those stories and art, the Mouse Territories are not for those with weak constitutions. Terror hides in every dark corner. Friends are lost in battle. Treachery and treason infect souls. I'm not sure if David Petersen intends his Mouse Guard to be children's lit but I'm sure it will be considered as such. Taken that way, it's the kind of kid lit I like. It doesn't lie or coddle. It tells children what they need to know, not that bad things exist (they already know this) but that bad things can be dealt with (why do I feel like I'm stealing that from something I saw this week?).
Each chapter opens with words of wisdom from Mouse Guard text and guide books. I was particularly taken with this one:
"Clouds, leaves, soil, and wind all offer themselves as signals of changes in the weather. However, not all the storms of life can be predicted."
On a side note, If you are a severe art critic, be gentle. I appreciate this book not for it's outstanding art, but for the different flavor of art it provides. The dynamic angles accomplished in this book are noteworthy. (But if you go at this book with the wrong chip on your shoulder you will be self defeating. Mona Lisa is not ready to be found in a graphic novel...not yet. So you shouldn't be looking for her.)
I hope many others enjoy Mouse Guard as much as I did.