by Krystina Kellingley
Sarah Frances Nash, illustrator
Our Street Books
Back Cover: Mistflower is a friendly little mouse. But as the long days of summer draw to a close she increasingly dreads the loneliness winter brings. Her prayers for help are answered in a way she could never have imagined when a small kitten is dumped in the garden of the abandoned vicarage which is her home. Terrified, but unable to bring herself to desert Silk, the courageous mouse finds herself in a life changing adventure. Together the two of them survive the destruction of their home, find many new friends and make a dangerous enemy. Now all they need to do is survive her scheming.
First Sentence: It was Walpurgis Night in Michaelmas Wood and as they always did, all the animals gathered in the clearing.
Mistflower is a little mouse who has recently lost the love of her life, Sage. Now alone, she is lonely and desperate for company. Silk, a small kitten, wandered too far from his home one day, and, while trying to find the correct road, ran into a group of teen boys. Unafraid of humans, Silk went up to the boys, wrapped herself around the leg of one, and mewed. The teen boy was not so kind. He grabbed Silk by the scruff, slug her around then deposited her inside a plastic bag, tied tight so no new air could enter, then threw the bag into an open area near an abandoned building. Silk, destined to die, found the strength to claw her way out of the bag.
Exhausted, afraid, far from home, and hungry, Silk came upon Mistflower. Mistflower, scared for her life, yet overwhelmingly compassionate, made the choice to care for Silk. Theirs became an unusual friendship with the story of the odd pairing traveling far-and-wide in the animal community, who deemed Mistflower the most courageous mouse for helping, and then living her life with the one animal that is her sworn enemy. Silk would never harm Mistflower and would go on to endanger her own life in an attempt to save Mistflower’s life.
Feeding Silk was not easy for the little mouse. They asked the animals at a nearby farm for help and they graciously showed Silk to the almost empty milk cans from the morning. Mistflower was steered to an abundant mound of loose grain. Each day, Silk made the trek to the barn for the leftover milk. Until on fateful day, without notice, steel balls battered the walls of the old abandoned vicarage, tearing it down around Mistflower and Silk. Fortunately, Storm, the farm’s dog, heard his masters talking of the destruction and raced to get his two new friends out of the falling building. The farm became the odd couple’s new home. All the animals of the farm were welcoming and truly happy to have them, save one. Lilac, a young calf became best friends with Silk and the two played away many of the long winter days.
Not all was happy and free. Silk had to hide from the farmer. His wife had lost her cat and did not want another. The animals were unsure what the farmer would do if he spied the kitten, but they did their best to ensure they never had to find out. Still, a bigger threat loomed over both Mistflower and Silk. Caramel, a large cow used to being in charge felt she was undermined and lost control when the others voted to allow Silk and Mistflower to move into the barn. Caramel, determined to rid the farm of the two “intruders” for good, fooled Silk into believing Mistflower was in danger, only to place the small kitten into a battle for her life.
I enjoyed this story very much. It is sweet, yet devious; harmonious, yet deceptive. The friendship between the small kitten and the even smaller mouse is a testament to all the odd relationships animals have formed through the years. When a bully becomes friends with his long time target, or any other odd couple emerges, Mistflower, the Loneliest Mouse is their story.
I like that the animals, regardless of their nature (such as a cat to chase a mouse or bird), they come together when needed. Once a year the animals, all of them, gather to celebrate Walpurgis Night. Ghost, a snow-white owl, leads the meeting. For this one night, all creatures are safe as they gather to thank The Great God of all living creatures. This reminded me of WWII, when at Christmas a cease-fire existed for the one day. It also shows that all men can get along, as can all creatures. We only need to try. That may be the gist of the story.
The illustrations, at the head of each chapter, foretells the action. The line art, in black and white, are well-drawn, interesting depictions of the characters. Sarah Frances Nash adds unmistakable emotion in the character’s eyes, such as Silk, scared when he realizes Longtooth, a badger, is planning to harm him. Mistflower’s worry is very apparent while watching over Silk, as he recovers from falling into the icy pond. The illustrations give the eyes a nice break from the text.
Boys and girls, and even parents, will enjoy Mistflower, the Loneliest Mouse. The violence is minimal. When Caramel tries to kill Silk the author created wonderful scenes that made me worried, yet encouraged. Nothing will frighten even the youngest child, who I think will want to hear this story more than once. There are chapters, making this a good bedtime story told over several nights or used in a classroom-reading circle.
With all the fantasy, dystopian worlds, and other belief suspending stories of late, Mistflower, the Loneliest Mouse returns to storytelling based on characters and relationships that do not require one to suspend anything to understand and enjoy the story. It is a simple, eloquent story and one of the best I have the pleasure of recommending from debut children’s author Krystina Kellingley.
by Krystina Kellingley website blog facebook Sarah Frances Nash, illustrator website Our Street Books website facebook Re-Released March 16, 2013 ISBN: 978-1-78099-468-0 104 pages Ages: 7 to 12
also available as an eBook
Copyright © 2012 by Our Street Books, used with permission. Text: Copyright © 2012 by Krystina Kellingly. Illustrations: Copyright © 2012 by Sarah Frances Nash.
DONATED TO PUBLIC LIBRARY