Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Tumtum and Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall

Tumtum and Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall

Emily Bearn
Illustrator:  Nick Price 
For ages 8 to 10
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009   ISBN: 978-0316027038

Arthur and Lucy Mildew live with their father in a little house called Rose Cottage. The family is poor, and the children have to make do with threadbare clothes, a freezing attic bedroom, and very uninspiring meals. However, a pair of mice living in the broom cupboard have an altogether different lifestyle. Tumtum and his wife Nutmeg live in a luxurious thirty-six room house, and they are always warm, well-fed, and comfortable. In fact they want for nothing.

One day Nutmeg decides that she has to do something to help Arthur and Lucy. Surely there must be something that a little mouse can do to make the children’s lives a little more comfortable? Carefully Nutmeg and Tumtum venture out at night to do what they can for the children. They darn torn clothes, clean shoes and sinks, repair toys, and plug up cracks in the walls.

Arthur and Lucy are delighted and mystified when they see what has been done for them. Who can their mysterious benefactor be? The children decide to write a letter to whoever is helping them. Nutmeg writes back, saying that she is a fairy and that she is there to help them in any way she can. One thing she stipulates is that the children must never see her, for if they do “my magic powers would fade.”

All goes well for a while until the children’s Aunt Ivy turns up. Aunt Ivy is a dreadful woman, and when she finds out that there are mice in Rose Cottage, she proceeds to wage war on them.

This wonderful title contains three Tumtum and Nutmeg stories, each one of which is exciting, amusing, and thoroughly enjoyable. In the second story, Tumtum and Nutmeg have to rescue a mouse friend and a cage full of gerbils before the little animals come to  an unfortunate end, and in the third story the clever mouse couple take on a ship full of piratical rats. One can only hope that we are going to see a lot more of these delightful mice.