This story is part of the Boy Called Christmas collection by Matt Haig and would make a charming Christmas gift or quick end-of-term read for 7-9-year-old children.
Miika is a very small, rather scruffy mouse and the hero of this story of friendship, cheese, and robbery. More importantly, it revolves around Miika coming to terms with himself and his own identity as a mouse living in a world of other fantastical species such as elves, trolls and pixies. When he makes friends with the only other mouse, Bridget the Brave, it seems like he will no longer feel the odd one out. But his adventures are only just beginning.
The book is richly illustrated by Chris Mould’s black and white, cartoon-style drawings of the characters with their expressive faces that work really well to support the text. The first letter of each short chapter is illuminated with an elegant drawing of a mouse, in the style of a medieval manuscript, and adds to the characterisation of the author’s ‘teeny-tiny hero’.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the story for the reader is Miika’s attempted friendship with Bridget. Her criticism of him and the resulting challenges to commit several potentially dangerous acts almost result in catastrophe. Her emotional blackmail of Miika could stimulate some interesting discussions about what happens when we ignore our own moral compass to keep friends.
Overall, A Mouse Called Miika is a must-read for those who have enjoyed the other stories in the series but could also act as an introduction for children unfamiliar with Matt Haig’s work. An enjoyable, amusing short read with added trolls!
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