by Pup Matthias
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Mouse Mission, by Prudence Breitrose. Illustrated by Stephanie Yue.
NYC, Disney•Hyperion, October 2015, hardcover $16.99 (266 pages), Kindle $9.99.
Mouse Mission is The Mousenet, Book 3; the conclusion of the trilogy that began with Mousenet and Mousemobile (both 2013). To repeat the events in the first two books, 10/11-year-old Megan Miller learns that the mice of the world are as intelligent as humans, but are too small and fragile to create a civilization. They’re isolated in small groups; and they can’t be heard by humans unless they scream all the time. The mice learn that Megan’s uncle, Fred Barnes, is an electronic tinkerer who has invented a miniature computer just for his own amusement, but which would be ideal for mice to communicate with each other throughout the world; and with humans.
In the first two books, Megan and Uncle Fred become part of the Humans Who Know about the Mouse Nation, and the mice figure out how the five humans can mass-produce the Thumbtop computers, supposedly as toy keychains but actually for the mice to use. Megan’s uncle and step-dad, Fred Barnes and Jake Fisher, create their home-run Planet Mouse factory in Cleveland, ostensibly to manufacture only a tiny number of miniature computer toys, but actually with a secret assembly line of seven hundred mice making Thumbtops for mice all around the world.
One of the Humans Who Know is Megan’s mother Susan Fisher, who is an environmental activist. Breitrose unfortunately allowed Mousemobile to become very preachy about the danger of Climate Change, which the five Humans Who Know and all the mice are very passionate about. The message of Mouse Mission, Saving the Rainforest, is fortunately integrated into the plot much better.
Susan Fisher’s current environmental campaign is saving the rainforest that covers the fictional island-nation of Marisco in the Indian Ocean (a pastiche of Madagascar).
“This was one of the last forests on that part of the planet that was still completely wild, and it had been kept that way by the government of Marisco until recently, when a group of generals seized power. A month ago, mice had found a document on the generals’ computers – a document that revealed their plan to sell the rights to the forest to Loggocorp, a huge international timber company.” (p. 16)