This is prequel to the first two Mouse Guard books and doesn't disappoint. David Petersen is an amazingly good draftsman and creates a visually and culturally plausible mouse world. His mice aren't pretty-pretty but are very cute all the same, the Guards are valiant creatures fighting to survive in a dangerous world, to protect their various townships and keep the trade routes between them open.
I picked the first one up in a charity shop, thought how enchanting it was and put it back on the shelf but, being a big kid at heart, decided to get it anyway and since then I've bought the later two volumes as son as they appear. They aren't really intended for children as the dangers the mice face are very real and they occasionally meet heroic deaths that would probably upset the very young.
While the stories are good it's the visuals that really sell the series to me. Petersen is obviously a child of the cinema and comic book age presenting his images from fascinating angles in drawings that are detailed and subtle. He says he spent a lot of time as a child climbing trees and the books somehow bear this out in his use of unusual viewpoints. I hope they keep appearing and while they do I will go on buying them. They are the sort of books that need to be read in paper editions - ebook formats just wouldn't do justice the imagery and the layouts.