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Reviewed by:
  • Mouseheart by Lisa Fiedler
  • Jeannette Hulick
Fiedler, Lisa Mouseheart; illus. by Vivienne To. McElderry, 2014 315p (Mouseheart) Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4424-8781-9 $15.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4424-8784-0 $10.99     M Gr. 5-8

Young mouse Hopper, his sister, Pinkie, and their little brother, Pup, manage to escape from a pet store above a subway tunnel but are then separated. Searching for his siblings, Hopper stumbles across a colony of rats known as Atlantia, ruled by a rat emperor, Titus. Titus tells Hopper (false) stories about the terrible “Mu¯ s” (a colony of mice) who want to overtake Atlantia; though initially hoodwinked, Titus finally learns the truth behind Titus’ reign (cat queen Felina acquired the right to frequent “hunts”—wholesale slaughters of mice refugees by the queen and her cat companions—in exchange for peace with the rats). Hopper therefore steps up to lead the Mu¯ s and a rebel force of rats in a fight against Atlantia and the cats. Fiedler gets points for the complexity of the plot and for the genuine horror evoked by the cat hunts of the mouse colonists. The characterizations are implausible and often clichéd, though; pure contrivance is all that allows Hopper to believe in Titus’ goodness as long as he does, and the writing is frequently overwrought or trite. To’s occasional black and white digital illustrations are a little more cuddly than the text, but any kid who sees the glossy jacket illustration will know instantly who the bad guys are in the story despite the narrative’s laboriously slow reveal of that information. Fans of Hunter’s Warriors series or Jacques’ Redwall series may enjoy this, but kids who want a little more depth to their animal fantasy will want to look elsewhere. [End Page 98]



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