“The Stowaways tells the story of twin brothers, Rory and Morgan Stowaway, and their family, which includes Mama, Papa, Gran, and their little sister, Bimble. They are Weedle mice, and they live next to a Cranberry Bog near Biggle’s farm. Unlike the other Weedle mice around them, The Stowaways have a strong spirit of adventure. At the beginning of the story, the reader learns that Grampa disappeared while on an adventure with Great Aunt Hazel, and is believed to be dead. Consequently, Papa has become extremely cautious and concerned for his family’s safety, limiting their travels and trying to restrain their natural inclination towards adventure. However, this restrictive parenting cannot stop Rory and Gran, who go searching for Grampa after discovering clues relating to his possible whereabouts. When they get captured by humans at the Museum of Natural Curiosity and do not return home, Morgan goes after them without telling Mama and Papa. The result is an exciting adventure that brings the family closer together, reignites all of their adventurous spirit, briefly reunites them with Grampa, and finally, sends them all off into the great unknown when a storm destroys their home.
Marentette has created a lovely world that combines animals and fantasy with humans and reality in an original and lively story. Her writing style is elegant yet conversational. Each character has been given a unique and vibrant personality, and the reader is carried through the story caring for their well-being and excited to see what precarious situations they find themselves in next. Griffiths’ simple, black-and-white illustrations jump off the page and add another dimension to this beautiful book.
There are many potential discussion points for students, which makes this story even more interesting to read. The tensions between family members are well-developed, and display many of the issues that all families face. Papa is overly protective and does not want his family to go on any potentially-dangerous trips; Gran is spunky and strong-minded and does what she pleases; and Rory and Morgan are rivals with a relationship that evolves and improves over the course of the story. There are also tensions between the Stowaway family and the rest of the Weedle mice, who do not understand the family’s desire to go on adventures and mock them for it. In addition, there is the general conflict with humans, who capture mice in order to conduct research on them in laboratories. Marentette’s story is therefore not only charming, but also clever and thought-provoking.”
Rating: E—Excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!
Thematic links: Animals; Mice; Family; Adventure