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The Orphan and the Mouse
by Martha Freeman
David McPhail, Illustrator

Paperback | 224 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 | US$ 7.99
ISBN: 9780823434510 | 07-30-2015

Also available as an ebook.

Grade: FOURTH | Age: 8 to 12

Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Acceptance & Belonging, 20th Century
Recommendations: A, C, K, H, LMC, PW, SLJ

CCSS Codes:
RL. 5.1-5, 7, 9-10
L. 5.3, 3b, 4, 4a, 4c, 5, 5a-c, 6
RF. 5.3, 3a, 4, 4a, 4c
SL. 5.1, 1a-d, 2-4, 6
W. 5.1, 1a-d, 4-5, 9, 9a, 10

About the Book

In this sweet and suspenseful tale, an orphan and a mouse discover that their unusual friendship becomes absolutely vital to holding on to the lives they know.

Can a mouse and an eleven-year-old girl be friends? When Mary, a mouse whose job it is to steal useful human items, and Caro, a lonely orphan, meet, it isn't under the best of circumstances. Mary has been attacked by a cat, and Caro must not be caught nursing a pest. Yet the two bond immediately. However, as a result of the incident, an exterminator is called, and Mary is blamed. She is left behind when her community, including her children, evacuates to a safer home. Caro also finds herself in trouble when she asks too many questions about a baby who appears at the orphanage.

With the help of a loner mouse named Andrew, who models himself on the great hero mouse Stuart Little and has learned to read, Mary, Caro, and a group of orphans embark on a page-turning adventure. They must expose baby-napping criminals, save Caro from being sent to a workhouse, help reunite baby Charlie with his mother, and make the orphanage a safe haven for mice for generations to come. Could it be that the key to all this is knowing how to read? Set in 1949 and taking inspiration from E. B. White's Stuart Little, this heartwarming and exciting novel reads like a classic.


"Freeman crafts an old-fashioned tale of good versus evil where everyone gets their just deserts."—Booklist

"With dashes of mystery, intrigue, and adventure, this tale of friendship is endearing."—School Library Journal

Classroom Discussion Questions with CCSS:

1. Why do writers of fiction use figurative language in their stories? Find examples of how author Martha Freeman uses figurative language in The Orphan and the Mouse (personification, metaphor, hyperbole, simile). RL.4-5.4 / L.4-5.5

2. How do you know the difference between the main characters and supporting characters? Name the main and supporting characters from the book. Explain each character and his or her role in the story. RL.4-5.3 / SL.1

3. Describe a scene in the story with which you personally connect. Use specific details from the book to describe the event. What were the characters thoughts, words and actions? W.4-5.3, 9, 10

4. How does the plot unfold in a series of episodes? Summarize each chapter. RL.4-5.2 / W.4-5.9, 10

Educators' Guide
Educator's Guide featuring questions for classroom discussion and suggestions for further exploration. Includes connections to the Common Core State Standards.