In this children’s-book trilogy’s conclusion, sixth-grader Megan heads to England with several mice in her backpack to help save a rain forest.
Megan lives in Cleveland, near a factory called Planet Mouse that manufactures mouse-sized Thumbtop computers, and her best friends are mice. The five “Humans Who Knew,” who are aware that mice are intelligent, have signed a “Treaty Between the Species”: humans help mice distribute computers throughout Mouse Nation, which is worldwide, while mice help reverse climate change. That’s a tall order, but if anyone can do it, it’s Mouse Nation—these mice speak Mouse Sign Language, use computers at least as adeptly as humans do, and specialize in everything from psychology to history to media. They can make hotel reservations, gather information from anywhere in the world, and even help rescue a kidnapped child. When a logging corporation threatens a rain forest on an island in the Indian Ocean, Megan and her family (all Humans Who Knew) fly to England to meet with the mysterious “Coconut Man”—an unidentified person who inherited the rights to the forest from islanders generations ago. Episodes of spying, burglary, computer hacking, and trickery on all sides make up the plot, which is set mostly in a palace in the English countryside. The affability and trust between Megan’s people and all mice (not just Megan’s personal mouse-friends) are the glue that holds this adventure together. This is especially the case because it lacks the copious mouse-related puns and lexicon of the first two installments (“mousekeeping”—defined as filling food bowls and cleaning up mouse poop—is the best word here). However, the premise that an island in the Indian Ocean needs Megan, who’s white, and her family to save its rain forest—as well as the nickname of Coconut Man, who’s white, too—infuses the text with an unfortunate white saviorism. Careful readers will also note, though the text doesn’t, that saving one rain forest is a much smaller victory than reversing climate change overall.
Although the series has become less fresh and creative with each installment, this one will still interest readers who’ve already bonded with Megan and her excellent mice.