Reviews for Tumtum & Nutmeg : Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall

Booklist Reviews 2009 April #2
Evocative of classics like The Borrowers and The Wind in the Willows, this mouse tale should appeal to children who like to imagine little creatures operating behind the scenes. In a small cottage in England live Mr. and Mrs. Nutmouse (aka Tumtum and Nutmeg), who reside in a grand house inside a broom cupboard. Twisting the usual human-animal dynamic, Bearn presents the mice as faring better than the human family and trying to help the sweet-natured girl and boy. (Their mother has died and their father is an eccentric inventor.) The three old-fashioned adventures here recount the daring rescues, not-too-scary hostage dramas, and close escapes that ensue when human and animal worlds collide. Bearn draws the situations with amusing particulars, including human foibles for man, mouse, gerbil, and rat, and drums up plenty of suspense as Tumtum and Nutmeg are forced to suspend their cozy lifestyle to save their friends and themselves. Price's black-and-white illustrations capture the Nutmouses' goodheartedness and the humans' dampened circumstances in a cheerful, rustic style. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 March #2
Charmingly old-fashioned but full of vigor, three tales about spry mouse couple Mr. and Mrs. Nutmouse offer humor and adventure. Tumtum and Nutmeg (fond spousal nicknames) live in "a big, rambling house with a ballroom, and a billiards room, and a banqueting room, and a butler's room" nestled secretly in a hidden broom cupboard of a cottage. In the cottage live Arthur and Lucy, human children whom Nutmeg and Tumtum clandestinely care for, explaining their helpful deeds by claiming to be a (single) fairy. The Nutmouses prefer peace and quiet, but the children's surly, musophobic Aunt Ivy strives to poison them until their wild and hilarious scheme expels her. That done, pompous General Marchmouse, a war hero given to "foolish heroics," embroils them in two more escapades, one involving gerbils and ballerinas, the other pirates. Bearn's neat, understated prose never missteps, while the small-scale domesticity nods to various classics including The Wind in the Willows and The Borrowers. Sweet but never saccharine--and how often do rescues involve mice on pogo sticks? (Fantasy. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 April #1

Bearn makes her debut with a trio of comfortingly old-fashioned tales about a pair of kindly mice, living in a forgotten broom closet in dilapidated Rose Cottage, home to Arthur and Lucy Mildew and their father. Tumtum and Nutmeg's residence--Nutmouse Hall--is as splendid as the Mildews' home is forlorn, and the good-hearted couple secretly takes on the task of putting, and keeping, the cottage in order. Unexpected adventures ensue: in each of the stories the decidedly nonadventurous mice rescue friends and defeat enemies, always putting themselves in great danger and emerging victorious. Very British in setting, tone and supporting characters (a blustery mouse general, an elegant elderly ballet mistress and her troupe of young ballerinas, greedy pirate rats), the stories are filled with descriptions of good food, cheering fires and warm beds. Price's black-and-white line drawings have a scratchy, comic air that brings a welcome edge to the gentle storytelling. While some may find the adventures on the quiet side, the sympathetic characters, enchanting setting and quickly paced plots will hold readers' interest. Ages 6-9. (Apr.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 May

Gr 2-4--Rose Cottage is a modest abode "rife with clutter and chaos." But behind a broom-closet door, hidden by a heavy chest of drawers, lies a 36-room mansion, home to Tumtum and Nutmeg Nutmouse. The retiring animal couple takes great pleasure in helping absentminded Mr. Mildew and his motherless children, who live in the cottage, in small ways--darning socks, rewiring heaters, and patching shoes. But a visit by the Mildews' odious Aunt Ivy turns the quiet couple's life upside down after the woman spots them on the upstairs landing. A full-blown mouse attack ensues, requiring the assistance of neighboring General Marchmouse and his mouse battalion. Adventure upon adventure follows, including trouble at the local school and an encounter with pirate rats (who are hindered by liqueur-filled chocolates). Before long readers know just what to expect from Bearn's characters: a can-do attitude and bustling efficiency from Nutmeg, even-tempered consideration from Tumtum, and from the General, an inflated ego and childlike impulses. The author provides enough twists and turns to keep the excitement high and fills her story with delightful details (outside of an occasional "earwig en croute," the mice nibble on piles of tasty homemade cakes, scones, and gingerbread, all described). Rustically framed pen-and-ink drawings appear throughout, adding panache to the presentation. This British import is as satisfying as high tea, and a perfect choice for competent young readers.--Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal

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