Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck

Cover image for The mouse with the question mark tail : a novelA small mouse lives under the stables of Buckingham Palace.  He doesn't know who his parents are, or even what his name is.  The other mice call him Mouse Minor but he wants to find out who he really is. It is the time of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and the small mouse decides he wants to ask Queen Victoria herself who he is. Little does he know, as he sets out on his path of discovery, that it will change his life forever.

I am a huge Richard Peck fan.  I liked his last mouse book, Secrets at Sea.  But I must say this one was a disappointment.  The story was cute, and the characters were interesting and endearing, but the writing was not up to Peck's usual level.  I can't account for it.  There were a lot of problems you would expect from an amateur.  A lot of the sentences were the same length and structure.  That made it choppy and stilted. There were a couple of folk sayings that were used over and over.  I think Peck was trying to be cute, but it turned out as just annoying. The pacing was monotone. The mouse did this, and then this, and then this. There wasn't really any emotional build up until the very end.  Even then I didn't feel like the mouse cared much about what was happening to him. I listened to it on recording (as I do most of my books) and maybe a different reader would have done a better job.  I don't think it was the reader, though.  I wonder if this is a book Peck wrote a long time ago, maybe even as a young man, that he decided to publish. That would explain the immature style. If so, he should have given it a more thorough rewrite. (223 p)

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