Review: The Umbrella Mouse by Anna Fargher

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44015213The Umbrella Mouse by Anna Fargher
Published by: Macmillan Children's Books
Released: 2nd May 2019 (Paperback) & 18th June 2019 (ebook)
Page Count: 179 Pages
Edition: Kindle
Rating: 4/5 

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A timeless tale of courage, resistance and friendship, The Umbrella Mouse is a heart-stopping adventure drawing on the true stories of animals caught in the conflict of WWII. 

1944, and London is under attack. Young mouse Pip Hanway's safe and quiet world is turned upside down when her home, umbrella shop James Smith & Sons, 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.



Thoughts

It's 1944 and Pip Hanway, a young mouse, is living a quiet life with her family in umbrella shop James Smith & Sons. That is until the shop is destroyed by a bomb, causing Pip to loose her parents. Now orphaned, Pip is alone and starts a quest to find a new home. On this quest she gets involved with Noah's Ark a small, secretive gang of animals fighting the German resistance in France. Danger in France is all around and it is soon time for Pip to risk everything to save her new friends.

Well, this was such a short, sweet, uplifiting book all about courage, friendship and loyalty that had me captivated. I had never read a book with solely animal characters before and in my opinion, I enjoyed the voices of these characters more than many human ones if I'm being totally honest. I don't read enough historical MG and The Umbrella Mouse may have convinced me to explore the genre more.

This book certainly doesn't shy away from the horrors of World War Two and some may think it's not appropriate for a book that is primarily aimed at 9 - 12 year olds. I certainly disagree, it is told in an entertaining yet factual way and this is perfect for getting children learning more about that period of time. The historical accuracy throughout the book is commendable and I applaud the author for this - it can't be easy researching into a topic that is, at times pretty harrowing. 

I relished the plot and really enjoyed how the reader is taken straight into the action. It's fast-moving and this, in turn, makes you want to continue reading no matter what. At times I felt rushes of adrenaline and found my heart was racing. You are constantly praying for the best but at times are expecting the worse. When a book does this, you know it's a great one. Moving on, I found the use of animals within the story to be exceptional. I'll admit I don't know much about how animals were used during World War Two apart from the basics so this was a really eye opener for me. Without these animals, the war may not have gone the way it did. 

Pip, she was such a sweetheart! I adored her as a character from the moment she was introduced. I found myself caring for her..a lot and was constantly wishing nothing bad would happen to her. Her character development was next to none and it was a joy to see her discover how brave and courageous she really was. Her friendships with the other animals was just heartwarming to read about and she's certainly going to be a character that sticks in my mind for a long time. We all, at times, need to find our inner Pip and embrace it.

The only negative thing about The Umbrella Mouse was that it ended so abruptly that I didn't get many answers that I was hoping to find before the end. It also felt like the plot line changed halfway through. However, this may be because a sequel is the works. I'm hoping.

The Umbrella Mouse was a pleasure to read. It's a story all about finding your inner courage and doing what you think is right no matter what. A lot of children, I think, will come out of this book having been educated and entertained.

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