Mice may be small in stature, but they figure mightily in our collective imaginations. Take a few moments to recall your favorite mice in literature, and you’ll be amazed to discover how many pink-eared, sharp-eyed, whiskered little creatures hold starring roles in some of our most beloved books. Kind of gives you the warm and fuzzies, doesn’t it? (Or maybe it makes you want to jump up on a chair. Either way!) Here are a few of our favorite furry fictional friends:
Stuart Little from Stuart Little, by E. B. White
I still marvel at how brilliantly E. B. White’s well-loved children’s book introduced Stuart, with total nonchalance, as a mouse who was born into a family of humans—you know, like one is. Stuart’s charming mannerisms, his tiny toy motorcar, and his impeccable sense of style (with his debonair little hat and cane, he was like a three-ounce Cary Grant) made him the talk of the town even before he participated in a model sailboat race across Central Park’s boat pond in a fit of derring-do.
Bernard and Bianca from The Rescuers, by Margery Sharp
This delightful story follows the adventures of two brave mice—Bernard, the humble pantry mouse, and Bianca, the sophisticated poet and intellectual, as they carried out a rescue mission on behalf of the Prisoners’ Aid Society. This sharply funny book, recently re-released after being out of print for a decade, is worth revisiting for its nuanced characters and inventive plot.
Mrs. Frisby from Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brien
Mrs. Frisby has got to be one of the most courageous mouse action heroines in all of literature. A widow whose four children are in terrible danger, she visits an owl for advice in order to save them—and he tells her to seek help from a colony of rats, which she also does. That’s akin to me asking a shark for help and being told that I need to go talk to a bunch of grizzly bears. I still can’t believe that this story hasn’t inspired a thrilling Lifetime movie. When Not Without My Mouse Babies: The Mrs. Frisby Story premieres, I will be DVRing it for sure.
The Boy from The Witches, by Roald Dahl
I know, I know—the hero of this story began as a little boy. But once he’s in mouse form, he proceeds to wreak havoc on a convention hall full of evil, child-hating witches, turning them into mice in the process. He also survives getting the end of his tail cut off with a butcher’s knife, because Roald Dahl, one of my most favorite and nastiest children’s storytellers, never disappoints. And, in a brilliant and disturbing twist (spoiler alert), he does not turn back into a boy, but lives out his days as a mouse. So yes, I’m going to say he counts.
The Dormouse from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
The dormouse isn’t necessarily one of the standout characters that Alice meets in Wonderland, but he does manage to hold his own during a tea party with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare—which earns him a certain amount of respectability. With those credentials, he could probably even handle a guest spot on The View—although I can’t promise that Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy wouldn’t also pour hot tea on his nose or dunk his head into a teapot.
So Many Characters from the Redwall series, by Brian Jacques
I loved the Redwall books—they were so full of adventure, with wonderfully vivid characters and nail-biting drama, that it was easy to get lost in the world of those books and to forget that you were reading about mice, rats, and other woodland animals, including the odd squirrel. There are too many wonderful mouse characters in this series to choose just one, but I will say that there’s someone for everyone’s tastes. From the heroic warrior Matthias, to the quiet yet cunning Cornflower Fieldmouse, to the dastardly Cluny the Scourge (all right, all right, so maybe he was a bilge rat), the world of Redwall Abbey is populated with a vast army of unforgettable rodents.
Finally, a hat tip goes to Cory’s pet mouse from Flowers in the Attic, Mickey, who gave his life so that the Dollanganger children could discover the terrible truth behind those innocent-looking powdered donuts.
Who are your favorite fictional mice?