Quill and Quire

REVIEWS

« Back to
Book Reviews

The Stowaways

by Meghan Marentette; Dean Griffiths, illus.

Rory Stowaway, a field mouse, has always wondered what really happened to his long-lost Grampa. But autocratic Papa has stifled questions about Grampa’s fate – as well as any impulses Rory, his brother Morgan, and his Gran might have had to go adventuring. After a Papa-sanctioned visit to a nearby town, Rory learns that Gran believes Grampa is alive and imprisoned somewhere. When the chance comes, Rory and Gran slip away on a rescue mission that involves hairbreadth escapes, imprisonment in a lab, virtuosic mastery of a computer mouse, and a sad leave-taking.

Debut author Meghan Marentette clearly takes pleasure in describing her version of anthropomorphized mouse culture, including domestic scenes complete with very human bickering (these mice aren’t particularly civil), field mouse sports, and specialized forms of mouse transport. The mice recognize human objects and activities (the sound of somebody snapping on latex gloves, for example), and the author refers not just to paws and tails, but also to mouse “arms” and “lips.”

However, Marentette’s fantasy doesn’t provide the consistent difference in perspective brought about by the fully imagined world of an alternate species, even one that’s anthropomorphized. Nor does the author seem overly concerned with complex characterization and plotting. Instead, Marentette offers up domestic drama (“I should have let go of my anger a long time ago,” Papa apologizes, during the family’s reconciliation) and action-adventure of a more modest sort.