Monday, November 21, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Secrets at Sea

by: Richard Peck - illustrations: Kelly Murphy
Published October 13th 2011 by Dial

For this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, I'm featuring SECRETS AT SEA, a great tale of adventure about a family of mice during the late 1800's.  My blogging friend Joanne Fritz has also recently reviewed SECRETS AT SEA and even met Richard Peck.  Check her blog out for more info.

Now a bit from the publisher:

In the beloved tradition of The Borrowers, The Tale of Desperaux, and The Cricket in Times Square, here is an irresistible adventure story of the tiny individuals who secretly live among us humans.

Helena is the oldest of four mouse siblings who live in the walls of the Cranston estate. It is 1887 when the nouveau riche Cranstons decide to take a cruise ship to England in search of a husband for their awkward older daughter. The Cranston mice stow away in the luggage . . . and so begins the time of their lives, as they meet intriguing, cosmopolitan mice onboard and take it upon themselves to help the human Cranston daughters find love. They might just find perfect futures for themselves as well!

Full of laughs, near-misses, and surprise, this is Richard Peck at his best and most playful.

This book was such a fun read, quick read!  It does remind me of The Borrowers or even The Littles. (I loved them when I was young.) The story is written in first person and told by Helena. What I loved the most were the surprising twists Peck weaved throughout the story. Many of the surprises revolve around the love lives of the human Cranstons as well as the mice Cranstons. Helena's own personality and attitudes changed some throughout the story as well, and it was interesting to follow along as she developed as a character.

It was also fun to read the bits of history and the proper English attitudes, even held by the mice. It is amazing to think of mice leaving co-existent lives with their humans. I also always enjoy reading how mice use human items for their own living and transportation.

I definitely recommend SECRETS AT SEA, for the young and old alike! And check out the blog list to the right for other recommended Marvelous Middle Grade Monday reviews.