Word of Mouse

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
Word of Mouse Book Poster Image
Exciting, funny tale of blue mouse packs positive messages.

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Along with irresistible characters and an exciting plot, authors Patterson and Grabenstein pack quite a bit of information about science and other subjects into Word of Mouse. From the social habits (and large litters) of mice to the handy properties of a lever, kids will learn a lot of things as they follow Isaiah's adventures -- and see for themselves how being smart and having bits of knowledge can really save the day. Adults reading aloud will get a kick out of Isaiah's quoting famous statements such as "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" -- which he says he read somewhere.

Positive Messages

"Leave no mouse behind!" rules the day as Isaiah and his new friends try to free Isaiah's family from the Horrible Place, aka Lamina Labs, where terrible things are being done to them in the name of research. Also strong messages about friendship, family, overcoming gender stereotypes, courage, and resourcefulness. Perhaps most importantly, as the mouse anthem puts it:

"You may tower like a giant,
You may be weak and you may be small,
Our differences make no difference,
The same moon shines on us all."

Positive Role Models & Representations

The heroes here are small but mighty: Isaiah, who's terrified and insecure but still manages to save the day many times, often by putting his particular talents to work; Mikayla the mouse, who battles her community's stereotype that girls aren't supposed to sing and proves a courageous heroine; and Hailey, the white-haired human girl who befriends Isaiah and finds a way to help the mice. The villains are creepy but ultimately no match for brave mice and their human pal.

Violence & Scariness

Violence is a constant threat in the mouse world, with cats ready to devour you and mousetraps waiting to kill you. But that's nothing compared to the awful fates faced by Isaiah and the other lab mice, examples of which appear in the story and in illustrations -- e.g., masked lab technicians preparing injections of who-knows-what as terrified mice look on, and a creepy scientist who tells Isaiah, "I can't wait to open you up and see what's going on inside that tiny little blue brain of yours."


There's a lot of giggle-inducing bathroom and gross-out humor, with frequent mentions of poop, pee, and butts.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Word of Mouse, true to the track record of its best-selling author team James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, is a fun, relatable tale with positive messages aplenty. With a central theme of Leave No Mouse Behind, the story offers lots of moments to cheer the good guys as Isaiah, a tiny blue mouse with unusual powers (such as reading) escapes from a research lab, determined to save his still-imprisoned family from awful fates. The quest involves dodging cats, making new friends, proving his worth, and using everyone's skills to overcome the odds. There's more than a bit of science and history along the way, with a strong message about focusing on the things we have in common, not the ones that divide us. There's some bathroom and gross-out humor that will tickle the funny bones of kids of this age and stage. Adults in the story are involved in animal research, which is portrayed in scary-looking illustrations and may require some explanation.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJack M. March 5, 2017

Great for Kids

I recently met Joe Sutphin, the Illustrator of this book. The story is wonderful, funny, and nice. It is a little scary when isaah is seperated from everyone el... Continue reading
Adult Written byJack M. March 5, 2017

Great for Kids

I recently met Joe Sutphin, the Illustrator of this book. The story is wonderful, funny, and nice. It is a little scary when isaah is seperated from everyone el... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 23, 2017

Important lessons

I LOVED this book. I think it's 5+ because it's important to teach kids of every age that animal testing can not be "humane". You should t... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old July 9, 2018

Super Cute Book!!

I think this book is a very kid-friendly book. This book could be a little violent for kids under 8. One of the reasons is because of the "Horrible Place... Continue reading

What's the story?

In WORD OF MOUSE, Isaiah the tiny blue rodent can talk, in both mouse and human languages. Also he can read. In fact, all his many-colored siblings who live in the Horrible Place, aka Lamina Labs, have lots of unusual powers, and there are lots of sinister "longcoats" waiting to do horrible things to them. When all 97 of the lab mice stage a break for freedom, only Isaiah the runt remains free -- in a world he's never seen and where he's soon dodging a cat. Befriended by a tribe (or "mischief") of regular mice, scared, insecure Isaiah soon proves his worth to his new friends -- and is determined to go back and save his family.

Is it any good?

James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein hit lots of sweet spots in this exciting tale of a blue mouse determined to save his family from a research lab -- and ready to use his enhanced powers for good. Kids will find Word of Mouse's mix of a fast-moving plot and highly relatable characters (both human and mouse, dealing with issues ranging from social anxiety and gender stereotypes to life-and-death danger), pretty irresistible. Plus there's plenty of humor and cheer-worthy moments, as well as positive messages about friendship, community, loyalty, perseverance, teamwork, and overcoming adversity. There also are strong themes of focusing on what we have in common rather than the things we don't and not allowing our differences to define our relationships.

Joe Sutphin's illustrations lend lots of appeal, although some sensitive kids may find a few lab scenes and villain close-ups too intense.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the research lab is portrayed in Word of Mouse. Why does Isaiah want to escape and free his family members? Are animals used in research in real life? 

  • Have you ever been to an animal blessing in your town? Was it fun? Did you bring your own pets? How did they like it?

  • How would you like it if your pets could read the same books as you and you could talk to each other? What do you wish you could say to an animal in your life?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love stories of adventure and friendship

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