The Mouse Watch

Disney-Hyperion. (The Mouse Watch: Bk. 1). Nov. 2020. 256p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781368052184.
Gr 3-7–Evil machinations are at play in the world of mice and rats. Bernie is a 12-year-old mouse determined to become part of the famous Mouse Watch with its technology, determination, and teamwork to fight crime. Readers meet Bernie and her mouse family in a world reminiscent of Mary Norton’s The Borrowers. Mice have to evade human detection as they shop for groceries, work, and enjoy their communities, but Bernie is focused on becoming a trainee recruit. Not only are these rodents trying to save the world, but they have a leader, Gadget Hackwrench, who invents fantastically advanced gadgets and technogear. Bernie gets in and out of trouble as it becomes clear that a villainous mastermind is influencing humans to do his bidding through a doctored cheese scent that renders them mindless. The gasp-worthy escapades are over the top, but Gilbert makes it work with trademark covert terminology worthy of a James Bond flick. Plus, he adds in plenty of cheese; swiss, cheddar, camembert, bleu, and brie. Embedded is a message about not stereotyping others and learning to recognize real friendship. The cute little world of mice is an odd mix with advanced spying, giving this a somewhat cinematic vibe.
VERDICT A dashing fluff adventure with appealing miniature heroes and villains. Cheesy in a few ways.

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