Suffering from a little “Downton Abbey” withdrawal? No need to get your knickers in a twist. Now you can nibble on this new gouda picture book until Series 4 debuts in the U.S. on January 5, 2014.
Whether you be man or mouse, Mouseton Abbey: The Missing Diamond by Joanna Bicknell, Nick Page and Tim Hutchinson (Make Believe Ideas, 2013), is sure to get your whiskers twitching with its veddy British tongue-in-cheese humor.
Whoever said, “when the cat’s away, the mice will play,” knew only half the story. Not only are there mice in this house, they own the place, which is not too shabby considering it dates back to the 13th century and now has over 300 rooms.
This biting tail of mystery takes place one Cheesemas, when Lord Mouseton (Earl of Roquefort) — the bumbling, extremely forgetful man in charge — manages to lose a precious family heirloom, the Great Big Cheesy Diamond. This is indeed a dire “EMERGENCY,” “CRISIS,” “DISASTER,” and “CATASTROPHE,” because every year at the Cheesemas banquet, each member of the family gets to hold the Cheesy Diamond and make a wish on it.
Lord Mouseton, his wife Lady Brie, their three daughters (Lady Ricotta, Lady Mozzarella, Lady Fontina), and their servants (headed by Wensleydale the Butler and Miss Swiss the Housekeeper), turn the kitchen, schoolroom, Grand Staircase, and Great Gallery upside down, but alas and alack! The cheesy diamond is nowhere to be found. Lord Mouseton is beside himself, and his mother, Lady Gouda, is not amused. Is Cheesemas totally ruined?
Though the plot could have benefited from a bit more ripening, it’s hard to resist this adorable hand-knitted mischief of mice scampering through lushly furnished ink drawn rooms. I like that all the mice are named after different cheeses, and that pivotal scenes take place in the kitchen and dining room (the most important rooms in any house!). I’d also like to taste Mrs. Cheshire’s Cheesemas Pudding sometime.
Mouseton Abbey is a tasty wheel of fun for kids and a suitable fix for grown-up Downton fans with its multicultured knit-one-parmesan-too cast of cheesy cuties. Squeaky keen!
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MOUSETON ABBEY: The Missing Diamond
devised by Joanna Bicknell
written by Nick Page
illustrated by Tim Hutchinson
published by Make Believe Ideas, September 2013
Picture Book for ages 3-7, 32 pp.
* The Mouseton mice are adapted from Alan Dart’s Dickensian Party Mice pattern
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P.S. Have no fear. The cats will not be outdone. Look what’s coming out this week:
Still, some will always think Mouseton Abbey is the cat’s meow :
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This review is being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Put on your best bibs and check out all the cool recipes, reviews and musings!
Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.