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)