Judging from the lack of response to my rave reviews of Wind in the Willows, I know I’m in a small minority of those who love books in which animals act like people. My latest favorite was offered as a free download on Kindle, but now at $2.99, it’s still a bargain.
The Linnet's Tale is the story of a community of mice who live in Tottensea Burrows. It is told from the point of view of a linnet (house finch) whose conspiratorial confidences are pure pleasure. Not only are there villains and heroes, there are families and friends who stick together. My favorite family was the Fieldpeas who own the bookstore. The three Fieldpea daughters love books and there are several chapters about them that will delight bibliophiles and word lovers.
I, who love tight, clean prose, was enamored with every flowery, meandering sentence in Willard’s short novel. How could you not love a phrase like, “He was wallowing helplessly in a small tussock of fescue.”? Or not love words like, “pipit,” “recumbent,” “orts,” and “kerfuffle”? The subtitle of the book is “A Mouse Tale for Grownups,” but I think a child who has been brought up on books (who is not daunted by big words) would rejoice in the adventures of the Tottensea mice.
I have to agree with Waterford Hopstep (the linnet) when he described them as quite a splendid little company of field mice – all of them honorable, generous, warm-hearted and as distinct from one another as snowflakes. You’d like them, I think. (p. 19)
In the tradition of Brambly Hedge, Redwall, and Wind in the Willows, this darling story is full of humor and heroism – and a touch of romance. Definitely one of my favorite books of 2013.