Bearn makes her debut with a trio of comfortingly old-fashioned tales about a pair of kindly mice, living in a forgotten broom closet in dilapidated Rose Cottage, home to Arthur and Lucy Mildew and their father. Tumtum and Nutmeg's residence--Nutmouse Hall--is as splendid as the Mildews' home is forlorn, and the good-hearted couple secretly takes on the task of putting, and keeping, the cottage in order. Unexpected adventures ensue: in each of the stories the decidedly nonadventurous mice rescue friends and defeat enemies, always putting themselves in great danger and emerging victorious. Very British in setting, tone and supporting characters (a blustery mouse general, an elegant elderly ballet mistress and her troupe of young ballerinas, greedy pirate rats), the stories are filled with descriptions of good food, cheering fires and warm beds. Price's black-and-white line drawings have a scratchy, comic air that brings a welcome edge to the gentle storytelling. While some may find the adventures on the quiet side, the sympathetic characters, enchanting setting and quickly paced plots will hold readers' interest. Ages 6-9. (Apr.)[Page 47]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Gr 2-4--Rose Cottage is a modest abode "rife with clutter and chaos." But behind a broom-closet door, hidden by a heavy chest of drawers, lies a 36-room mansion, home to Tumtum and Nutmeg Nutmouse. The retiring animal couple takes great pleasure in helping absentminded Mr. Mildew and his motherless children, who live in the cottage, in small ways--darning socks, rewiring heaters, and patching shoes. But a visit by the Mildews' odious Aunt Ivy turns the quiet couple's life upside down after the woman spots them on the upstairs landing. A full-blown mouse attack ensues, requiring the assistance of neighboring General Marchmouse and his mouse battalion. Adventure upon adventure follows, including trouble at the local school and an encounter with pirate rats (who are hindered by liqueur-filled chocolates). Before long readers know just what to expect from Bearn's characters: a can-do attitude and bustling efficiency from Nutmeg, even-tempered consideration from Tumtum, and from the General, an inflated ego and childlike impulses. The author provides enough twists and turns to keep the excitement high and fills her story with delightful details (outside of an occasional "earwig en croute," the mice nibble on piles of tasty homemade cakes, scones, and gingerbread, all described). Rustically framed pen-and-ink drawings appear throughout, adding panache to the presentation. This British import is as satisfying as high tea, and a perfect choice for competent young readers.--Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal[Page 70]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.