Book Review: THE UMBRELLA MOUSE by Anna Fargher (Middle Grade Monday)

Title in white on blue below a mouse clinging to the handle of a flying yellow umbrella
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - first book in duology


Book cover for THE UMBRELLA MOUSE: title in yellow on blue above London skyline sketch with a mouse flying on the handle of a yellow umbrella

1944, and London is under attack. Young mouse Pip Hanway’s safe and quiet world is turned upside down when her home, umbrella shop James Smith & Sons, is destroyed by a bomb. Orphaned and alone, she must begin a perilous quest to find a new home.

But the only way to get there is by joining Noah’s Ark, a secret gang of animals fighting the resistance in France, operating beneath the feet of the human soldiers. Danger is everywhere and as the enemy closes in, Pip must risk everything to save her new friends.

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


THE UMBRELLA MOUSE is just so cute. This is WW2 spies and espionage, but played out with animals who are waging their own war while the humans wage their own. You have bridge sabotage, secret messages, and double agents all with a little baby mouse protagonist.

It’s a really fun take on WW2 spies, showing the sacrifices and bravery of men and women and animals, referencing real animals used in operations. (Just the animals obviously didn’t have their own spy and resistance league!)

Having animal protagonists allows the book to show the horrors without being as graphic or feeling as grim, because there is that fantasy element of it being animals. There is death and torture (off screen, but the scaring etc is shown) all the way through, but as it’s animals there is that level of remove, so I think it’s a really great way of introducing the cost to little children.

There’s plenty of action, with secret missions, escapes, and crossing the channel in an umbrella (that umbrella is pretty indestructible!) By using animals, you can have action sequences across a variety of locations, from aerial pigeon/falcon fights to ground level – and even sewers. It’s a very imaginative way of getting different forms of warfare in, and getting a mouse in those situation. No naval battles in this book though – perhaps in the next?

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