This is a novel that is embarking on its own adventure of finding just the right publishing house.
Word count: 68,895
Printed pages (paperback): 180
Audience: family read aloud; Grades 5-8
Pudge is a literary work that splashes the reader into a
festival of words. The narrative flows across the chapters.
Illustrated by the author. Graphite on bristol plate.
Mama mouse wants nothing more than to share a happy home with a happy human family. It seems that she may finally get her wish when their barren little cottage is sold to a family with four rambunctious children. Can the mice really endear the family to the new cottage while always using their best survival skill, that of invisibility? It's a bumpy ride to a happy home as mouse and human children begin to mix. Woodland forts, cattail canoes, rocket flights, poetic inventions, yards of crochet, and a barn full of animals add up to a delightful adventure.
Family life and sibling interactions: The main characters of this book are the two families, one a human family and one a mouse family. What they have in common are strong, healthy, and happy identities as families. Through the well-developed individual characters, the normalcy, joys, and trials of family life are humorously portrayed.
The beauty of God's creation and the hierarchy of being:
In the heart of this book is the assurance of the hierarchy and goodness of God's creation. The mice understand the humans to be the stewards of creation and know that they make a good many of the big decisions. That is not to say that the mice in their small role cannot help the humans to be the good stewards God intends them to be.
Tempering one's gifts:
Magnolia is a mouse with a zeal for practicing survival skills, tactical maneuvers, and poetry. Her enthusiasm in all these areas leads her in and out of adventures and disasters. Through her trials she tempers her self-centeredness, learns the appropriate time, place, and use of her survival skills, and learns when poetry is a peril and when it is a joy.
The adventure of learning: Left to play and explore, the mice and human children are active and imaginative. Whether they are building campfire rings, rockets, or forts; whether they are crocheting ponchos, fishing, or constructing mouse mazes, the children are busy learning, experimenting, adventuring and having fun. The story in this book is propelled by active, inquisitive children who are always ready for the next adventure.
Why is this book called Pudge? Pudge is the family nickname for the youngest girl in the human family. It is a name of affection. Pudge is a main character among several main characters. She, the smallest and youngest, has the honor of carrying the title of the book because she is the catalyst for the beginning and closing actions of the story.
This book is like:
Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White, in its adventuresome interactive story of humans and animals.
The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Graham, in its lyrical way of capturing the beauty of the world.
The Tough Winter, by Robert Lawson, with its inviting illustrations of animals and their activities.
The Friendly Gables, by Hilda van Stockum, in its portrait of a Catholic family.
My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George, in its appreciation of flora and fauna.
Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink, in its engaging sibling relationships.
Freddie the Pig, by Walter R. Brooks, in its laugh-out-loud humor.
Yet, this book is like no other.
The characters you will meet here, you have never met before.