Some books know when to tell you it’s time. Penny Dolan’s A Boy Called M.O.U.S.E. is one such – extremely patient – book. Suddenly, after years, I knew I had to read about Mouse.
It’s a lovely book; a sort of Jane Eyre meets The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. Set in the days when wealthy parents might take off to some far flung corner of the Earth, leaving their toddler with his rich grandfather, his angry uncle and his loving nanny, before being ‘lost,’ thought dead.
The grandfather seemingly doesn’t care about young Mouse, and the uncle looks like he wants a shortcut to his inheritance, so the nanny removes her charge to somewhere safe, loving Mouse as though he’s her own son.
But uncle Scrope can compete with the worst of fictional villains, and he sets things in motion to find Mouse, and then to put him in a ‘school’ which is one of the worst I’ve come across, even for Victorian fiction. Eventually the longsuffering Mouse escapes and makes his own life, meeting good, normal people, who help him, and who point him in the right direction.
Mouse grows into a capable and loveable boy, with friends and things to do. And then…
Well, I won’t tell you. If you haven’t already, then join me in discovering Mouse and his world.
(Nicely old style illustrations by Peter Bailey.)