Lowry, Lois. Bless This Mouse. Illustrated by Eric Rohmann. Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2011. 160 pages. $15.99.
Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry is the heartwarming chronicle of the mice of St. Bartholomew’s church. This community of church mice, led by Mouse Mistress Hildegarde, tries to live quietly, avoiding the notice of the Father Murphy, the Altar Guild and other people of the parish. But as they consider preparations for the annual Blessing of the Animals on the Feast of St. Francis, which means cats in the church, they face an even bigger danger. They’ve been spotted. That means, the Great X, something they fear even more than cats.
Hildegarde shepherds her charges on an adventure into the outdoors with the help of her friend and supporter Roderick and a former college library mouse named Ignatius. The characters are lively and well-developed from the ditzy mouse mother having her litters in the most inappropriate places to jealous Lucretia who envies HIldegarde her position as Mouse Mistress. Rohmann’s charming and whimsical illustrations bring the characters to life.
This book will appeal to young middle grade students. While it includes some challenging vocabulary, the chapters are not long, giving young readers a break. Bless This Mouse also would make an excellent choice to read aloud for second or third graders. Children will eagerly wait to see if the mice can survive the dangerous outdoors, avoid the Great X and the pet cats. Then, can one further act of personal bravery win the mice of St. Bartholomew’s church a blessing of a safe haven? Lois Lowry has again written a wonderful book, one that will delight readers young and old. (November 6, 2010)