Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mouseheart Review & Giveaway

by Lisa Fiedler; Illustrated by Vivienne To
Audience: Ages 8 to 12 years
Fiction * Adventure * Animal Fantasy
Margaret K. McElderry/Simon & Schuster
May 20, 2014

Hopper is just an ordinary pet-shop mouse—until he escapes. Soon he finds himself below the bustling streets of Brooklyn, deep within the untamed tangles of transit tunnels, and in Atlantia, a glorious utopian rat civilization. 

But all is not as it seems. Hopper misses Pinkie and Pup, the siblings he lost in the escape attempt. Atlantia is constantly threatened by roving rebels who wish to bring the city to its knees. And there are cats everywhere, cats who would normally eat a rodent in a second, but leave the rats unharmed . . . and no one can seem to answer why. 

Soon Hopper is caught in the crosshairs of an epic battle, one that spans generations and species. As the clashes rage, Hopper learns terrible, extraordinary secrets. Deadly secrets about Atlantia. Painful secrets about his friends. 

And one powerful secret about himself.

When I first heard about Mouseheart, there was a comparison to the Redwall Series by Brian Jacques.  Surprisingly, for someone who does not typically like animal stories, I loved the Redwall Series. It was fantasy at it's finest and a great cast of animals, with epic stories and battles and journeys.  As a result, I was curious to read this book.

Whereas, Redwall is completely set in some medieval time period, Mouseheart begins in a pet shop in of all places Brooklyn, New York.  Soon though, readers follow Hopper as he escapes with his siblings and ends up in a medieval setting under Brooklyn. Atlantia of course has rats and mice and  felines.  There are those that are friends and those to be leery of, and Hopper has to decide who is friend and who is foe.

Adventure stories are also journey stories and for our very unlikley hero, Hopper, he must find the strength and courage to overcome his fears, and discover who he really is.  As a warning, Mouseheart is the first book in a series and does leave readers with some unanswered questions, and a desire to read the second book. 

The artwork in the Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) was not complete, so, it will be interesting to see the final artwork.  I know from speaking with my ARC Group (several students who gather to read ARCs and book talk to other students), though the cover art is stunning, it did scare away some of my more timid readers. It is true that there is some suspense and definitely some worrisome parts, but I have certainly read scarier books geared for the Middle Grade audience.  Consequently, it may be helpful to read bits and portions from the book, in order to draw in readers who love fantasy adventure but may be concerned that the book is too scary for them.

The bottom-line: Students who love animal fantasy and adventure stories will thoroughly enjoy Mouseheart.

Professional Reviews: Kirkus | Publisher's Weekly

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Lisa Fiedler is the author of several novels for children and young adults. She divides her time between Connecticut and the Rhode Island seashore, where she lives happily with her very patient husband, her brilliant and beloved daughter, and their two incredibly spoiled golden retrievers. 

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Vivienne To has illustrated several books, including The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins and the Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective series by Octavia Spencer. As a child, she had two pet mice escape. She currently lives in Sydney, Australia, with her partner and her ginger cat. Visit her at

Check out the official website here.

About the Giveaway:

One lucky reader has a chance of winning a special prize pack, which includes a copy of MOUSEHEART, THE SEARCH FOR WONDLA, and BELLY UP.

Prizing & samples courtesy of Simon & Schuster.  You must be 13 years old or older and have a US mailing address to enter the Giveaway.  To submit and official entry, please enter the rafflecopter below.

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