Lynne Rae Perkins, HarperCollins/Greenwillow, September 2022, 240p., ISBN: 978-0-06-249969-1
“I think mice are rather nice;
Their tails are long, their faces small;
They haven’t any chins at all.
Their ears are pink, their teeth are white,
They run about the house at night;
They nibble things they shouldn’t touch,
and, no one seems to like them much,
but, I think mice are rather nice.”
– Rose Fyleman (1877-1957)
“No straight lines make up my life;
And all my roads have bends;
There's no clear-cut beginnings;
And so far no dead-ends.”
– Harry Chapin, “Circle” (1972)
Violet and Jobie are a pair of house mice siblings who are smart enough to employ a pencil to spring a mousetrap, in order to safely retrieve the yummy cheese-and-peanut-butter bait. But they are also young and careless enough to subsequently become trapped in a shoebox as they sleep off their feast. Thanks to the pleadings of the little girl who also lives in the house, the pair of mice are transported to a park and freed, rather than exterminated. Thus begin the lively adventures of VIOLET AND JOBIE IN THE WILD.
After a few lucky close calls, they encounter Zolian, a wise and aged mouse who has spent his life in the wild. It turns out that they have lots to teach one another about how the other half has lived:
“‘So what happened?’ asked Zolian. ‘Why did you leave?’
‘We were captured.’ said Jobie. ‘In a box.’
‘A what?’ asked Zolian.
‘You, know, a–’ said Jobie, before realizing that Zolian, though old and wise, might not know what a box was.
‘A trap,’ he said. ‘We were trapped.’
‘And then they brought us to this wild place and drove off,’ said Violet.
‘Drove?’ said Zolian.
‘Left,’ said Jobie. ‘They left us in the middle of nowhere. They said we were wild animals and that we would figure it out.’
‘And we’re trying,’ said Violet. ‘But we’ve never done this before.’
‘Well,’ said Zolian. ‘That explains a few things.’
‘I don’t feel like a wild animal,’ said Violet.
‘And to me,’ said Zolian, ‘this doesn’t feel like such a wild place. Though I suppose it is.’ He may have scratched his chin. There was a pause.
‘Perhaps I can help you get used to it,’ he said.
Zolian liked how Violet and Jobie had shown him a new way of looking at something so familiar: the maple seeds. It could be fun to see his world through their eyes.
Speaking of seeing, it was dark in the burrow. Not completely dark. The three could see one another, in a way. Not clearly, but as thicker, more solid darknesses in the darkness. It was almost more of a feeling than a sight. They could sense one another, hear one another’s breathing and little movements. Violet felt that this sensing could be quite accurate, if she practiced. If she paid attention. It was interesting. But right now, she wanted to see with her eyes again, even if what she saw was this strange, confusing new world.
‘Do you think that owl is still up there?’ she asked.
‘There’s always an owl,’ he said. ‘Or a hawk or a weasel, or some other one who would enjoy gobbling us up. We are popular in the tasty treat department.’
‘But–’ Violet began, then stopped. She couldn’t finish her sentence.
Even so, even in that one word, Zolian could hear the wobble in her voice.
‘There’s always an owl,’ he said again, gently, ‘but there are ways to live so that you’re not always afraid of the owl. Just aware of the owl.’”
Populated with enough mice to give most grownups nightmares, VIOLET AND JOBIE IN THE WILD is a sweet and engaging coming-of-age tale for middle graders. I love how Jobie observes and appreciates the character of Iris, a kind and patient girl mouse he happens to meet, making him want to connect with her. Through Violet, the reader experiences the way that a trusted mentor can open up new joys and share wisdom.
VIOLET AND JOBIE IN THE WILD shows that unexpected and random events are a part of everyday life. If you remain calm and open, these unforeseen episodes can often lead to unimagined opportunities and adventure.
Recommended by: Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA
See more of Richie's Picks <https://richiespicks.com/> https://richiespicks.pbworks.co
Newbery Medal winner Lynne Rae Perkins introduces Violet and Jobie, two house mice exiled to the wilderness, in an exceptional read-aloud and read-alone for fans of Skunk and Badger,Nuts to You, and classic animal stories such as Stuart Little. This thrilling—and funny!—animal adventure explores themes of friendship, family, bravery, and the meaning of home. Violet & Jobie in the Wild is illustrated in black-and-white throughout by the author.
Brother and sister mice Violet and Jobie live a cozy and comfortable life in a humans’ house, where food is plentiful and the television is good. In fact, Violet, tucked safely behind a book in the bookcase, loves to watch nature programs along with the young boy of the family. The boy’s mother, however, isn’t the biggest fan of mice.
When Violet and Jobie are caught in a trap, the young boy pleads with his mother to release them, and she agrees. Now Violet and Jobie find themselves in tall grasses, under tall trees, surrounded by all kinds of unfamiliar scents and sounds and creatures. In short, they find themselves in the wild. How will they survive?
This short, generously illustrated novel is packed with action, humor, heart, friendship, and surprises. Award-winning author Lynne Rae Perkins’s Violet & Jobie in the Wild will resonate with readers who love books about animals.---from the publisher
240 pages 978-0-06-249969-1 Ages 8-12
Keywords: adventure, mice, nature, friends, survival, wilderness, 8 year old, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old