The Kingdom of the Sun and Moon, by Lowell H. Press, Parkers Mill Publishing (September 10, 2014), Ages 10 and up, 316 pages.
Lowell H. Press has written an inventive novel about a hierarchy of mice living in the gardens and secret interior spaces of a castle inspired by the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria.
The colony’s king cares little for his subjects and is mostly interested in taking the food they save throughout the year for his own use during the winter months.Two brothers, Sommer and Nesbit, discover that all is not what it seems, including the king’s purported fear of a pending invasion of the colony by a massive army of woodland mice.
Sommer, who is drafted by the king’s minions for a suicide mission on the colony’s behalf and Nesbit, who insults the king and flees into the dangerous forest, take different approaches to survival and justice. Sommer becomes a cadet commander, while Nesbit becomes known as either a worker of magic of an exceptionally lucky mouse.
Set in a 1700s world, The Kingdom of the Sun and Moon is a delightful story with well-drawn characters and an underlying culture and myth that will charm young readers while keeping their parents engaged whenever this derring-do yarn is shared around the dinner table or at at bedtime.
Press used his visit to the Schönbrunn Palace to great advantage in developing a setting for his story that is well suited to the mice colony’s culture and history as well as to the people and cats who appear throughout the tale for better or worse.
Sommer and Nesbit of the Long Meadow Colony are tiny, as mice go, but they make up for it in bravery and guile.