The Secret of the Ginger Mice by Frances Watts, David Francis |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Secret of the Ginger Mice

The Secret of the Ginger Mice

4.3 3
by Frances Watts, David Francis

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Alistair, Alex, and Alice have always been an inseparable (though not necessarily harmonious) triplet of mice…that is until Alistair is kidnapped one summer’s night. While Alistair tries to make heads or tails of falling from the sky onto another young ginger-colored mouse named Tibby Rose (a most unusual incident on all accounts), Alex and Alice set


Alistair, Alex, and Alice have always been an inseparable (though not necessarily harmonious) triplet of mice…that is until Alistair is kidnapped one summer’s night. While Alistair tries to make heads or tails of falling from the sky onto another young ginger-colored mouse named Tibby Rose (a most unusual incident on all accounts), Alex and Alice set off to find their missing brother. But in a world where spies abound and an elusive underground organization called FIG is only heard about in shushed bits and pieces, figuring out whom to trust is no small task for this intrepid trio. The key to the mystery seems to be within their grasp, but it only hints at another hair-raising adventure and creates more questions that seemed destined to remain unanswered.
Full of warm, clean humor and whippet-quick wit, Frances Watts’ new trilogy will effortlessly charm readers and adventurers alike.

Chosen as a Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Book 2011

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
First published in Australia, this first book in the Song of the Winns trilogy delivers a winning adventure in the mouse-story genre. When 12-year-old triplet Alistair, a mouse with ginger-colored fur, disappears from his house and lands unexpectedly in another country on top of Tibby Rose, a mouse who shares his unusual coloring, they embark on a search for his home while Alistair’s siblings, Alex and Alice, sneak away to look for him. Watts effectively infuses these alternating twin journeys with suspense as the heroes meet circus mice, double-crossing secret agents, owls, and pirates. Along the way, they uncover the significance (and danger) of their ginger fur. Though colorful, the supporting characters are less developed than the protagonists. Readers will be thankful for the map of the region, as the geography feels somewhat jumbled; each chapter opens with a small, delicately inked piece of spot art from Francis. An intriguing thread about a secret resistance movement, clues about the mice’s respective parents, and other questions left unanswered pave the way for the subsequent books. Ages 8�12. (May)
From the Publisher
Australian Bookseller & Publisher, 5 stars
"…a real treat … laced with plenty of adventure, wisdom and humour…This is a terrific read"

Kirkus Reviews
“These latest mouse heroes promise more ripping, gripping mystery and adventure.”

Publishers Weekly
"…a winning adventure…"

School Library Journal
“Narrow escapes and plot twists abound, with almost every chapter ending in a nail-biting cliff-hanger. The suspenseful tone and accessible, polished writing will doubtless keep readers turning the pages. The conclusion is thoroughly satisfying, yet it is clear that many more obstacles face these mice before their story truly comes to an end. Fans of Brian Jacques's "Redwall" series (Philomel) as well as action and adventure aficionados will devour this book and eagerly await the next installment in the series.”

Children's Literature - Elizabeth D. Schafer
Family means everything to mice siblings Alistair, Alice, and Alex, age twelve, as they bravely face hazards when their complacent existence is disrupted by extraordinary revelations in this first book in "The Song of the Winns" trilogy. After their parents Rebus and Emmeline vanished, the triplets live with their Uncle Ebenezer and Aunt Beezer. Bookish, naive, and kind, the siblings enjoy comfortable, predictable lives and are cherished. Alistair, who is unique because he has ginger-colored fur, always wears an intricate scarf his mother knitted for him. Abruptly, he, too, disappears, distressing his relatives who assume he has been mousenapped. A puzzled Alistair awakens in an unfamiliar country where he meets another gingernut mouse, Tibby Rose, whom he convinces to travel south with him towards his home. Meanwhile, Alice and Alex slip away from their guardians and head north across mountainous terrain to seek Alistair's whereabouts. As the quartet courageously traverses the dangerous landscape, they overcome perils; encounter unsavory spies and mean pirates; befriend unlikely allies, particularly the owl Oswald; crave gourmet cheeses and delicacies; and discover historical facts regarding the power struggle between Queen Cornolia's descendants which also impacts their families. The young mice's determination to honor and defend their newfound heritage despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles emboldens them. Illustrations depict pivotal scenes from each chapter. A map shows where characters roam. The narrative immerses readers, vicariously, into the mice's whimsical and believable world, with plot twists effectively enhancing character development as the mice recognize their abilities, establishing an intriguing scenario for the trilogy's next novel. Read with Margery Sharp's The Rescuers (1959). Reviewer: Elizabeth D. Schafer
Kirkus Reviews
In this first book of The Song of the Winns trilogy, mouse siblings try to rescue their missing brother and become perilously embroiled in political intrigue involving ginger mice. Since their parents disappeared four years ago, mouse triplets Alex, Alice and Alistair have lived with their aunt and uncle in southern Shetlock, where Alistair's ginger fur marks him as different, "like no other mouse he had ever seen." One night Alistair mysteriously vanishes and reappears atop a ginger mouse named Tibby Rose in Souris, a country north of Shetlock. Determined to return to Shetlock, Alistair and Tibby discover their ginger fur brands them as dangerous spies from Gerander, a border country inhabited by ginger mice and home to FIG, a secret resistance organization intent on restoring Gerander's independence. While Alistair and Tibby flee south on a raft and eventually join a pirate crew, Alex and Alice search for Alistair and are pursued and captured. Fast-moving action alternates between Alistair and Tibby's capers and those of Alex and Alice. Armed with knowledge of their Gerander roots, the four anthropomorphic heroes prepare to join FIG and face future danger with panache. Pen-and-ink spot art highlights chapter details. These latest mouse heroes promise more ripping, gripping mystery and adventure. (map) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Product Details

Running Press Book Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Frances Watts is an Australian children’s book author. She is the winner of the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Eve Pownall Award for her book Parsley Rabbit’s Book About Books. The Song of the Winns was published by HarperCollins Australia in September 2010. She lives in Sydney. You can visit her online at

David Francis began his career as an exhibiting artist, and his works are held in many collections. He illustrated the CBC Honor Book Ten Little Known Facts About Hippopotamuses and collaborated with author Margaret Wild to create the much-loved Morris the Reinbear. He lives in Sydney, Australia.

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The Secret of the Ginger Mice 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so creative and I want to be an auther myself one day. I have to admit that I wauld have never thought of a book like this in a million years.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
cute mice adventure book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago