A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- Authors: James Patterson, Chris Grabenstein
- Illustrator: Joe Sutphin
- Genre: Animals
- Topics: Adventures, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: jimmy patterson
- Publication date: December 12, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 304
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.