Review: The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck

qmarkNewbery Award-winning author Richard Peck is at his very best in this fast-paced mystery adventure. Fans of The Tale of Desperaux, A Little Princess, and Stuart Little will all be captivated by this memorable story of a lovable orphan mouse on an amazing quest.

The smallest mouse in London’s Royal Mews is such a little mystery that he hasn’t even a name. And who were his parents? His Aunt Marigold, Head Needlemouse, sews him a uniform and sends him off to be educated at the Royal Mews Mouse Academy. There he’s called “Mouse Minor” (though it’s not quite a name), and he doesn’t make a success of school. Soon he’s running for his life, looking high and low through the grand precincts of Buckingham Palace to find out who he is and who he might become.

Queen Victoria ought to be able to help him, if she can communicate with mice. She is all-seeing, after all, and her powers are unexplainable. But from her, Mouse Minor learns only that you do not get all your answers from the first asking. And so his voyage of self-discovery takes him onward, to strange and wonderful places.

Set in the same world as Secrets at Sea, a novel I enjoyed, The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail was just as cute and lovable, but not quite on the same level.  It failed to captivate me in the same way, perhaps because it was telling a different kind of story. It was less about how mice are a part of human lives and more about the tale of a single mouse.

“Mouse Minor” is an inquisitive young mouse constantly bullied due to his short stature. He is a wonderful character to read about.  It is the classic tale of going from a nobody to a somebody, from some one disliked to the center of attention, done through a fun adventure.  An adventure involving horses, bats, princes and yeomice.

I love all of the details in Pecks’ world of mice from the description of the classroom to Buckingham palace. Plus, I found the historical angle very interesting. There were just enough historical tidbits added in to keep the novel feeling factual, yet not too many that it bogged down the storytelling – which is lovely by the way. The art too is stunning and helps bring the story to life.

Recommended to those looking for a short, sweet story for themselves or for someone younger!


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