Author(s): Anna Fargher
An incredible journey of bravery and friendship about one mouse's fight to survive World War II.
1940. London is under attack. Young mouse, Pip Hanway's safe and quiet world is turned upside down when her home, James Smith & Sons umbrella shop, is destroyed by a bomb. Orphaned and alone, she must begin a perilous quest to find a new home.
But the only way to get there is by joining Noah's Ark, a secret gang of animals fighting the resistance in France, operating beneath the feet of the human soldiers. Danger is everywhere and as the enemy closes in, Pip must risk everything to save her new friends.
The Umbrella Mouse is a heart-stopping adventure that draws on the true stories of animals caught in the conflict of WWII. Beautifully illustrated by Sam Usher, Anna Fargher's debut novel is a timeless tale of courage, resistance and friendship.
Young Pip Hanway is an inquisitive and adventurous little mouse who lives with her parents in an umbrella shop in fashionable Bloomsbury Street, London. It’s 1944 and World War 2 has been raging for four years. One night a bomb falls on Pip’s home, killing her parents. Fleeing the carnage, she joins Churchill’s Secret Animal Army, a covert gang of animals fighting alongside humans to stop the Nazis and end the war. Pip is desperate to deliver an antique umbrella from her old home to a museum in Italy, but instead she ends up crossing the Channel to help the animals affiliated to the French Resistance with their sabotage plans.
I loathe rodents so it’s rather ironic that several middle fiction books I love happen to star rats or mice. There is Joy Cowley’s The Road to Ratenburg, a funny tale of a rat family’s journey to find El Dorado. And Odo Hirsch’s Frankel Mouse is a charming adventure involving a bunch of mice who live in London’s Underground and also have to find a new home.
The anthropomorphic characters in all three novels are the key to their success as fabulous reads for ages 8 to 12. In The Umbrella Mouse, Pip’s comrades include the staunch Dickin, a search and rescue dog; GI Joe, a homing pigeon with an impressive list of missions under his wings and Hans, a German rat who was so sickened by the Nazis’ atrocities that he fled to England. Of course there is a traitor in their midst and it takes all of Pip’s bravery and quick-thinking to enable this unusual band of operatives, led by Madame Fourcade, a hedgehog, to save the day.
Usher’s cute illustrations complement Fargher’s funny and engaging debut and a sequel is planned. An ideal family or class read-aloud too.