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Bless This Mouse

Review

Bless This Mouse

written by Lois Lowry, illustrated by Eric Rohmann

With October 4th just days away, Mouse Mistress Hildegarde is making plans to protect the colony of mice under her care. Every year on October 4th --- the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi --- parishioners from miles around come to Saint Bartholomew's. On that day, kindly pastor Father Murphy performs the Blessing of the Animals in memory of St. Francis, the 12th-century monk known for his love of animals. The ceremony has grown over the years, with more parishioners bringing animals of all types and sizes. Most threatening to the mice are cats brought by their owners.

Hildegarde and the other colony leaders --- including Roderick, who has a taste for altar wine and an eye for Hildegarde --- are praying for good weather. Ignatius, a new mouse in the colony, brings to Saint Bartholomew's his knowledge from living in a university library. Skulking in the background is Lucretia, a jealous and haughty mouse with sights on Hildegarde's position as Mouse Mistress.

All year long, Hildegarde does her best to keep the colony in check and under control. She counsels mother mice about having too many litters and approves hiding places to protect their young. Keeping the colony from being discovered by humans like Father Murphy, crawling children, the parish Sexton, or the Ladies of the Altar Guild is no small task. Even more daunting is the threat of the "Great X," the thing Hildegarde and the colony fear most.

Hildegarde has a plan to keep the colony safe during the Blessing of the Animals from prowling and curious cats. In clear weather, the threat is not as great. So Father Murphy will hold the blessing outdoors in the church gardens, and the mice can watch safely inside, away from the dangerous cats. But if it rains, the ceremony will be held inside and the colony will be forced to hide, which is risky.

In this elegantly written and inspiring book, two-time Newbery Medalist Lois Lowry has created a charming story that should resonate with animal-loving readers of all ages. Lowry uses a light touch weaving the details, history and traditions of Catholic saints and rituals into the tale. The graceful illustrations by Caldecott Medal winner Eric Rohmann enhance the reading experience. BLESS THIS MOUSE should appeal especially to Catholic school students or those curious about the Catholic faith, as well as readers of any faith who love all of God's creatures, large and small.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt on March 21, 2011

Bless This Mouse
written by Lois Lowry, illustrated by Eric Rohmann

  • Publication Date: April 7, 2015
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0544439368
  • ISBN-13: 9780544439368