Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The School Mouse

The School Mouse

Dick King-Smith
Illustrator:  Cynthia Fisher 
For ages 6 to 9
Hyperion, 2009   ISBN: 978-1423122098

For many years, mice have been living in the old school house. Though they are school mice, none of them have ever shown any interest in learning the same lessons as the human children who attend the school. None that is until Flora appears on the scene. Flora is one of nine mice that are born to Hyacinth and Robin. From very early on, she develops an interest in finding out what is going on in the school house. What are the small people doing there?

With determination and diligence, Flora sets about finding out the answers to her many questions about the school. Almost by accident, Flora makes the important connections that allow her to begin the process of learning how to read. She also learns to count and discovers that the world outside the school is full of extraordinary wonders. Flora’s mother thinks that what Flora is doing is “rubbish,” until Flora’s reading skill turns out to be very useful. While her parents have no clue what the word “poison” means, Flora does, and she manages to deliver the warning just in time. Her knowlege saves the lives of herself, one of her sisters, and her parents, but the rest of the school house mice all die after eating poisoned mouse treats.

Many of us take reading for granted. We forget that having the ability to read is truly a gift. In this amusing and often very forthright book, Dick King-Smith shows his young readers that being educated is a wonderful thing. Not only does the ability to read allow us to better understand our world, but it can also be vital to our survival.