MOUSE GUARD Fall 1152 by David Petersen, 200pages, Archaia
Review by Joe Taylor
For Illustration For story
Mice live hard lives. But it’s been made a little easier now that the mice of the forest are protected by the Mouse Guard. The problem is, they can’t be everywhere. When the overturned cart of a grain mouse is found, the guards investigate and ultimately discover that the mouse had been carrying a secret document to their enemies. Somemouse had to give it to him. There’s a traitor in Lockhaven and they’re on the case!
There is a reason why this book has been chosen to be on Yaroos. As stories go, Mouse Guard is a thin one at least as far as the written word goes. The writing itself contributes little to the story, and strangely seems to get in the way. But what David Petersen says with his pens and brushes is another matter. Here is a truly gifted “comic” artist who has chosen mice as his actors for his paper stage. His ability to give his creatures emotional expression, to use fire light and moon lit darkness to convey mood, and to create a progression of stunningly beautiful pictures, is what gives this book its worth.
The pictures have such subtle details, like a small dried leaf poking out of a tear in an old mouse’s chair, or special eye glasses and a draftsman’s compass for a cartographer mouse, that make Petersen’s work endlessly fascinating. His rendering of a mouse’s domestic life, whether inside a tree by the fire or climbing a dark stair inside a small stone house by the sea shore will bring a long lost childhood imagination back to life. I’ve read the book once and looked at the pictures twice again. It’s the pictures that will hold the reader’s interest.
True, there have been many books written for children that anthropomorphize mice, moles, frogs and foxes. And a good many of those have been very cute and “Awwww” worthy. But there is a darker touch to Petersen’s work, (these mice carry swords after all, and they use them to fatal effect), that draws the adult viewer in.
Mouse Guard Fall 1152 is a book for lovers of illustration and comic art and should be added to the shelves of those people who collect it. Those who want a well written tale of words might look elsewhere, though it would be a shame to pass up a book that tells a story so fantastically well, using the beautifully penned pictures that David Petersen has published between these covers.
Yaroos gives Mouse Guard gives 5 stars for the Illustration and 2 stars for the writing.