by Carlie Sorosiak ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 6, 2022
Letters from a super-intelligent mouse to the beloved chimpanzee she leaves behind when she escapes a research lab.
Poignant, loving, and threaded through with the joy of discovery, the letters that Clementine mentally composes to her gentle simian friend tell a tale that takes suspenseful turns while affirming tolerance and self-expression. Thanks to tweaked DNA, she’s thinking about prime numbers the day she is born, helps other mice navigate mazes, and figures out how to escape her cage at night and sign with the lab’s sad, affectionate chimp, Rosie. When a guilt-ridden research assistant spirits her and another mouse subject out of the lab, leaving them in a nearby mailbox, she begins a series of reports to Rosie about the wonders of the outside world. Eleven-year-old Gus and his grandfather welcome the fugitives rather than turn them in for the large reward offered by the lab when the mousenapping is discovered. They create a storm of public protest against animal experimentation by televising a chess match in which Clementine beats five experienced human players simultaneously. Along with offering an optimistic, aspirational view of human nature as she winds the story to a joyous conclusion, Sorosiak tucks in a subplot around nonverbal Hamlet, the other mouse escapee, who constructs a model of Notre Dame out of wood chips, as food for further thought about different intelligences. The human cast seems to be mostly White.
Serious themes lightened by comedic touches; the strong emotional attachments will linger with readers. (Fiction. 8-12)
Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick
Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022
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