Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Puppeteer's apprentice

The Puppeteer's apprentice

Ann Love
For ages 12 and up
Simon and Schuster, 2003   ISBN: 0689844247

For Mouse, a scullery maid and slave in all but name, life is harsh and miserable. An orphan, she was taken into a manor house when she was a baby. Now she works very hard in the kitchens doing all the worst jobs and she gets very little for her labors. Quick and intelligent, Mouse dreams of having a better life where she isn’t beaten and isn’t always half starved. One day Mouse takes some left-over food from a table. She is caught and horrible beaten. In terror the scrawny little girl makes a run for it.

Mouse is found in a ditch by three travelers who feed her and set her back on her feet. She travels with them and delights in the feeling of being part of a ‘family’. Unfortunately Mouse is soon alone once more. One by one her companions leave her, until she finds herself in a bustling town with no idea what she should do next, or how she is to get her next meal.

It is at this frightening moment that Mouse finds herself watching a puppet show. With growing interest and then rapt fascination she watches the story unfold before her eyes. There and then Mouse decides that she is going to become a puppeteer, no matter what.

With vibrant characters and a gripping story, the author of this book has created a fascinating world where life is hard and where little mercy is shown to the young, the small, and the weak. And yet, despite this, Mouse the scullery maid prevails to become a strong, brave young woman who is able to choose her own path and who finds herself a new name.