Spy Mice: The Black Paw, by Heather Vogel Frederick

This intriguing manual of murine espionage, cleverly disguised as a children’s fiction novel, is so full of trade secrets for the beginner spy, you’d think it would read like a boring field guide. But instead, it shows through vivid examples (real brushes with danger, crafting of Nim-worthy technology, and confrontations with wicked enemies!) how even the smallest of four-footed spies can survive and thrive in the tumultuous world of Washington D.C.’s underground.

Glory is a spunky spy mouse who has inspired the jealousies of a co-worker and is on the verge of losing her job. Oz is a friendless human boy on the perpetual verge of torment from bullies. The story of how they become first allies, and then friends, is used by the author to illustrate the inner workings of the Spy Mice Agency. Living parallel lives to their human counterparts, spy mice commute to work using carrier pigeons, send emails, and are constantly trying to gain an edge in their war against the city’s subterranean rat population, led by the monstrous Roquefort Dupont.

Glory is a gutsy, elegant, lovable heroine who is easy to root for (even for a feline espionage agent such as myself). “The Black Paw” is the first in the Spy Mice trilogy, and I can’t wait to read the next two. The writing is crisp and clean, with a vocabulary appropriate for the sophisticated grade-schooler or well-educated cat, and a plot more than interesting enough for action-lovers of all species and ages.

It’s a good thing Sebastian already made me swear off eating mice. Otherwise he wouldn’t have lent me this book from the library.bk_black_new

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