Our rating: ****½

Young Bisky the mouse and his friends at Redwall are determined to find the four great jewels that were hidden long ago by Gonff, the prince of thieves. Unfortunately, this treasure is also sought after by the raven Korvus Skurr and his hoard of sinister Doomwytes. Solving riddles, braving danger, and meeting many allies along the way, the Redwallers may still be up against more than they bargained for.

I must admit I didn’t go into Doomwyte expecting much. However, I ended up pleasantly surprised. Several funny moments, some riddles, plenty of adventure, and a new sort of villainous threat. I think what really pulled it off for me, though, is the lack of character stereotypes. After so many books in the series, there starts to be almost a standard for “the abbot character,” “the hero character,” and so on. But this one felt fresh and different, while still keeping in the same general feel as the other books. I’d say Doomwyte is worthy to sit on the shelf with the rest of the Redwall series.

Norman the Doorman

Our rating: *****

Norman, an artistically-minded mouse, loves to show his friends all the treasures hidden in the basement of the Majestic Museum of Art. One day Norman decides to make a sculpture out of the mousetraps that the sharp-eyed guard leaves. He enters the “mouse on the flying trapezee” into a sculpture contest the museum is having, and much to his surprise, wins first place!

I love this book. It ends so well, and Norman is such a decent little mouse—and his wire sculpture is really fun.

A Toad for Tuesday

Our rating: ****

Warton and Morton are two toads that live underground together. One day in the middle of winter, Warton decides to take Morton’s wonderful beetle brittle to their Aunt Toolia. Morton tries to talk his brother out of the idea. Warton insists, saying that he’ll wear several sweaters and will travel with skis. Finally, Warton sets out. Later that day, he meets a field mouse who says that an owl lives in the woods where Warton will be traveling. This owl hunts by day instead of by night. Since Warton still wants to deliver his beetle brittle, the mouse gives him a scarf and offers the help of several friends if Warton gets in trouble. Once in the woods, Warton is captured by the owl to be eaten on the owl’s birthday. Warton has only five days to plan an escape.

A Toad for Tuesday is the first book in a series about Warton and Morton. Part of the ending is hinted at during the story so it isn’t a complete surprise, but it still makes a good end to an imaginative story. The horde of skiing mice may generate a few chuckles. This book is longer and a bit more complicated than the traditional picture book, making it an enjoyable choice for younger readers in general or for older readers who want a good quick read.


Our rating: ****½

The Searat captain Vizka Longtooth captures a young badger, which he decides to tame. But Gorath (the badger) is angry at the rats for killing his grandparents, and he plans to escape as soon as he can. Meanwhile, badger lord Asheye has a dream, telling him that Salamandastron’s new badger ruler will be found defending Redwall Abbey. He sends out perilous hare Mad Maudie to find the badger and bring him back. If that wasn’t complicated enough, Redwall Abbey has also banished a young hedgehog thief, telling him not to come back for a whole season. The resulting tale does indeed end up making sense in true Redwall fashion.

Doing a review of a Redwall book is always a challenge. I have read all eighteen books before this one, and I already have a favorite picked out. That being said, Eulalia! certainly meets expectations. The characters are just as memorable as always, the story just as complicated, and the ending just as satisfying.

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

Our rating: ****

This is the story of how Tommy Stubbins, the son of Jacob Stubbins, the shoemaker, first met the Doctor and became his assistant. Soon after Tommy begins to learn some animal language, a purple bird of paradise named Miranda arrives to tell Doctor Dolittle that Long Arrow, a great Indian naturalist, is missing. Doctor Dolittle decides to take a voyage, even though he won’t be able to meet Long Arrow. To decide where to go, they play a game called Blind Travel. They end up choosing the very spot that Long Arrow was last seen in, Spider Monkey Island. They set off at once with Bumpo, Crown Prince of the Jolliginki; Jip the dog; Polynesia the parrot and Chee-Chee the monkey and encounter some wonderful adventures.

There’s something about the Doctor Dolittle stories that I really like. They are so much fun. I left half the book out of the review, as it would take a really long review, not to mention give some of it away, if I told you all of the wonderful details. Some of the animals are great, and the Wiff-Waff is so funny, not to mention fun to say. “Wiff-Waff.” Anyway, I enjoyed this book a lot.