From the Publisher
Booklist starred review, May 1, 2014
“An absorbing picture book with a small but worthy hero.”
The Horn Book starred review, July/August 2014
“Every page holds treats and surprises in this tribute to neighborhood life, good deeds, and journalism.”
Kirkus Reviews starred review, June 1, 2014
“Grey brings her hilarious, cartoonish-yet-artful Traction Man sensibilities to this winsome story of the importance of transcending stereotypes, especially when it comes to mouse detectives.”
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
This book is not, according to the cover, by Mini Grey; rather, it is “as told to” her. Hermelin the mouse is the narrator here, and this is his experience at Number 33 Offley Street. Born in a container of cheese, the splendid little mouse has taught himself to read, write, and operate a typewriter. The power Hermelin has as a result of his fine communication skills is wonderful. “I could write ANYTHING,” he explains on one page. When the various residents of Offley Street find themselves in need of answers about where their purse, spectacles, necklace, cat, or goldfish is, the observant mouse provides the solutionanonymously. He even saves the life of a baby who has accidentally slipped into a garbage can! His neighbors all want to know: Who is this Hermelin? Who is the hero in their midst? But the story does not end there. Hermelin does not get the enthusiastic celebration he so richly deserves. The conclusion is much more satisfying than that. Readers will be hoping to read more adventures of this good-hearted, smart-witted mouse. Those who love the postmodern feel, graphic novel-type layout of text and image panels, and likeable hero of this book may also enjoy Ted Dewan’s Top Secret. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green; Ages 3 to 8.
Children's Literature - Carey Hill
Hermelin, a mouse detective, spends his days solving mysteries on Offley Street. This book tells the story of friendship and adventure from the Hermelin’s point of view. The real mystery, though, is his identity: no one on Offley Street suspects that a mouse is solving all of the mysteries. Through his adventures, Hermelin discovers the ugly truth that, while he is quite helpful, the humans in his building consider him a pest. He finds friendship in the end and learns that temporarily giving up on oneself does not mean that everyone else will. Grey uses media throughout the book to create an exceptionally engaging read. She utilizes many different text formats (including letters, lists, signs, dialogue, and newspaper clippings) to tell Hermelin’s story. Her use of muted colors in the illustrations makes Hermelin’s world feel warm and comforting. Grey has gone to great lengths to ensure that Hermelin seems to fit right into his surroundings by authentically portraying the world from his point of view. In paying close attention to her illustrations, readers will notice some foreshadowing, plot clues, and details that indicate where the plot may lead. This book is a great way to inspire writing by exposing children to different types of text formats. Reviewer: Carey Hill; Ages 5 to 8.
Hermelin, a mouse whose cream-colored coat mimics the rind of his namesake cheese, solves mysteries along a quaint British byway known as Offley Street. Hermelin lives in the attic of No. 33. Downstairs, a girl named Emily shakes a box of Crunchy Flakes and complains, “Hmm—no free gift again.” Upstairs, Hermelin observes the neighborhood through binoculars “I’d found in my breakfast cereal that morning.” Hmm, indeed. That day, homeowners tack urgent memos to the Offley Street notice board: Parsley the cat and Lucky the goldfish are missing, along with valuable personal items. Busybody Hermelin knows the whereabouts of each lost thing, and he uses an antique typewriter to tap helpful notes to the owners. Grey (Toys in Space) tells this brisk story in a lively combination of expository statements, voice balloons, and Hermelin’s typed messages; Hermelin, speaking in the first person, could be a distant cousin to the literary rodent of Robert Lawson’s Ben and Me. Grey’s wit sparkles in her concise storytelling and detail-rich comic images of a no-nonsense mouse. Ages 5–8. Agent: Hilary Delamere, the Agency. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—A wee white mouse has reading and typing skills that allow him to locate and return a series of missing objects on Offley Street. Hermelin (named for the cheese box in which he arrived), secretly leaves notes for the human residents, divulging locations of their misplaced treasures. When his message saves Baby McMumbo from the garbage truck, the residents throw a party in honor of their unknown benefactor. Then his identity is revealed, and their screaming departure banishes him to pest status. Luckily, young detective Emily admires his skills and offers him a partnership. This tale is rich in detail and plot. The cartoon drawings burst with witty features such as Hermelin's backpack. The hero's savvy and sweetness, along with Emily's pioneering, would make for fun sequels.—Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA
It's a terrible thing for Hermelin to be so cruelly misjudged, especially when the mouse's single aim is to help the hapless people of Offley Street.Hermelin is a natural-born detective. So when he discovers the street's notice board plastered with despairing announcements of lost this or possibly stolen that, he's on the case. The mouse easily locates Mrs. Mattison's handbag behind some lettuce in her fridge. He finds Bobo the teddy bear, too, dropped from an attic window into Capt. Potts' cooling lemon-meringue pie. As he solves each mystery, he leaves an explanatory note signed "Hermelin." But who is Hermelin? The baffled villagers lure the mysterious hero with a thank-you party at Bosher's sausage shop. When the little mouse shows up for his big moment, however, the terrified party-givers scream "MOUSE!" How could such a benevolent mouse-detective be perceived as a disease-spreading pest? Hermelin spirals into a full-blown identity crisis, brilliantly captured in nightmarish, comic-book-style panels. All ends well when a girl named Emily sees Hermelin for who he really is. Comical visual details abound, and each stamp-sized window of the Offley Street townhomes is a story in miniature, evoking all the wonder and delight of an advent calendar.Grey brings her hilarious, cartoonish-yet-artful Traction Man sensibilities to this winsome story of the importance of transcending stereotypes, especially when it comes to mouse detectives. (Picture book. 5-8)