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Secrets at Sea

by Richard Peck
Illustrated by Kelly Murphy

Published by Dial, 2011
238 pages
ISBN: trade 978𢠪037-34555

Ages 8-12

The year is 1887, and mouse siblings Helena, Louise, Beatrice, and Lamont are living contentedly in the Cranston household of the Hudson River Valley. Their predictable routine is interrupted when they learn that their human housemates plan to sail to Europe to find a husband for their daughter. Solidarity between mice and their house humans is a longstanding tradition, so despite an aversion to water, the four find themselves heading to England by sea just in time for Queen Victoria抯 Jubilee. Their shipboard adventures involve new friends (both human and rodent), many close calls and narrow escapes, and a brush with royalty. This lighthearted tale is both lively and humorous, with a sensibility that melds The Borrowers with Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Gender stereotypes and class roles of the era promote an old-fashioned feeling, which is nicely countered by Helena抯 take-charge attitude and proactive approach to solving her family抯 problems.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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