The Mouse Cricket Caper is a classic story of good versus bad (I wouldn’t go as far as saying the rats are evil). Set at Lord’s, the mice reside within the Victorian pavilion scavenging off the spoils left behind by the members and spectators after a day’s play. The rats, fresh from being evicted from their home at the disused Lord’s Tube Station, discover the mice through chance and threaten to muscle in on their territory. The rats’ leader, Bristles, gives the mice a chance to fight for their land with the victor earning the right to take residence in the pavilion. The setting is the Long Room and the game, of course, is cricket.
The Mouse Cricket Caper is a charming and educational story with clever cricket themes throughout. The mice are experts on the game and have names loosely base on past greats such as Don, Beefy, Compo, Bumble and Mrs Heyhoe. Some of the mice are even caricatures of the players, adopting their characteristics and traits which will come much to the delight of keen fans of the game. The rats on the other hand are complete novices when it comes to cricket but have a clear size and strength advantage.
While the story will appeal greatly to young cricket fans, the book is also an excellent introduction to the sport for children. It explains the history of Lord’s, the Ashes and the MCC members and even makes a delightful Dredlock Holiday reference when the mouse of Jamaican heritage by the name of Mikey, presumably based on Michael Holding, say: “I don’t like cricket, I LURVE IT!”
As with most children’s books the end is reasonably predictable and while it won’t go down as a classic, The Mouse Cricket Caper is a pleasant jaunt that makes the game appealing to children (and the odd adult).
By Adam Hopkins, ALLOUTCRICKET Magazine February 2015