Thursday, August 30, 2012
Upstairs, downstairs, and in the wall
My former elementary school librarian self has to dip into the children's section of the library every now and again. Author Richard Peck is a favorite and his current book, Secrets at Sea, is so clever and in keeping with the vibe of Downton Abbey, Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee celebration, and England's (and America's) fascination with class.
The wealthy Cranston family travel by ship to England in 1887 hoping to marry off their daughter to one of the landed gentry. Four members of the mouse family who share their house tag along finding many of their kind also on board. But in true upstairs/downstairs (or in the wall) ways, everyone has their place. There is love, romance, and unlikely unions amongst the humans and the stowaways as well as brushes with the Royals. After all, many on board are headed to Queen Victoria's Jubilee.
I loved the dual stories and the point of view of little "people" who can't be seen. I enjoyed the charming illustrations. I do not love that we have little "people" who have been occasionally spotted in the Provo townhouse. We have been in guerrilla warfare with them this month. The mouse traps go off and the bait is gone, but no mice save one. Another has been spotted and we hope that there is only one clever mouse still in residence. I have left my visiting BIL in charge of the fight. My sister claims he has never lost a mouse war. Most times one's reading life does not match one's real life. I wish real mice were as charming as those in Secrets at Sea.