James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein pen the perfect animal lover’s story in their new middle grade collaboration.
When a mischief of mice must run for their lives, all are caught, except for Isaiah. Frightened and feeling very much alone without his 96 siblings, Isaiah is unaware that he will have to face his fears as he sets off for uncharted territory. He is not your typical mouse, though. Besides his sky-blue fur and ability to read, Isaiah is a bit of an etymologist. His love for words and their origins work to his advantage when he gets involved with another horde and makes friends with Hailey, a human. The serendipitous connections present an opportunity for Isaiah to save his family, and only time will determine whether or not he is brave enough to execute his plan.
Patterson and Grabenstein have produced a coming-of-age story replete with human-interest issues. No doubt Isaiah, their protagonist who often speaks directly to his audience, understands the fears that many middle grade readers experience on a daily basis. Without using specific terminology, the author duo uses Isaiah and Hailey to address issues such as bullies, self-esteem and, most importantly, xenophobia. Patterson and Grabenstein’s portrayal of the latter is nothing less than stellar, as Isaiah and Hailey have to find ways to survive in a world that is uncomfortable with differences.
Each chapter opens with Isaiah’s golden nugget aphorisms and closes with a cliffhanger, and laced throughout are Joe Sutphin’s dramatic and animated pencil sketches. With plenty of unexpected everything from beginning to end, Word of Mouse is not only bound to be a favorite among middle schoolers, but also an inimitable classic.