CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 21 . . . . June 23, 2006
Above ground, he is called Mouse; but one night, below ground, he's given the name Mouse Mountain. Mouse is pretty good-natured about his nickname. Everyone calls him Mouse because he's small in size. He doesn't want anyone to think he's weak though! After a hard day helping his dad put up a fence around the garden, he's awakened by voices outside his window. He hears “Hun. Hoo. Hee. Hoar. Hive. Hix”, and he see the lights moving about on their own. As Mouse looks closer, he sees the lights are small lanterns and the voices are coming from small creatures.
Mouse learns size is all relevant. What is big to the Undergardeners seems small to Mouse. Mouse thinks he's drinking out of a small cup, but actually it's the Undergardener's bucket. With the Undergardeners, he's the biggest in the group. And it feels great.
Mouse does accidentally cause some havoc underground. He's the reason a momentary wind storm stirs up and the reason all of the ovens underground shutdown. However, Mouse does save the Ancient Rhymer and his tortoise from a fire, and he saves Digger from the Creepscreech's Lair. The Undergardeners come to see Mouse as a hero. And he feels proud.
There are a few black and white illustrations throughout the book, and each chapter is headed by two mice; Snick and Snock. Children will be happy to see what the main characters look like and especially what Mouse is seeing underground. The illustrations are made of simple lines, yet the characters are very expressive.
The Undergardeners, the author's first book, is a little mystery and a little humor. Children will be surprised what Creepscreech Liar really is and the myth surrounding it. They'll wonder what makes the lanterns talk, what is inside that ball of runaway wool, and what words will come out of the Rhymer's mouth. On the lighter side of things, the lightning bugs are jokesters, as are most of the animals in the book- especially Digger the mole. Digger owns different glasses for working, reading, writing and even relaxing!
This is a story that can and will be enjoyed by many children.
Tanya Boudreau is a Youth Services Librarian and Resource Librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.