A hairless guinea pig with self-esteem issues sheds them after several adventures.
By day Millhouse—“Milly” as he calls himself—crouches in misery in his pet-store cage as the other animals in the unwieldy cast jeer at him and customers pass him by with barely a glance. At night, though, he escapes to ramble about the shop and (having previously belonged to a stage actor) declaim Shakespeare. With help from an asthmatic old rat and a squad of military mice, Milly not only keeps up with theatrical doings outside the pet shop, but at last finds a way to attend a performance of King Lear starring Peter Ustinov. Along with miraculously escaping repeated attacks by a vicious ferret who turns out to be a frustrated thespian himself, Milly later saves the shop from a fire and so becomes a hero whose reward ultimately comes in the person of a young girl who is also in love with theater and sweeps him away to a happy future on, as the last of the occasional delicately inked drawings reveals, a homemade stage. These events all feel thrown together haphazardly rather than strung together in a logical fashion. Moreover, unlike Stuart Little, Despereaux and the many other small creatures who have set out to find themselves, Milly’s yearning to be sold to a new owner comes off as, at best, unambitious.
A patchwork effort that makes neither hay of its protagonist’s unusual talents nor much sense. (cast list) (Animal fantasy. 8-11)