Edi­son: The Mys­tery of the Miss­ing Mouse Trea­sure

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Nonfiction / Comics & Graphic Novels - MICHELLE ANNE SCHINGLER

Tor­ben Kuhlmann North­south Books (OC­TO­BER) Hard­cover $19.95 (112pp), 978-0-7358-4322-6

Be­hind the wall of an old book­shop, cu­ri­ous young mice gather for univer­sity. There, a stu­dent named Pete ap­proaches the pro­fes­sor with a plea: help me learn about my an­ces­tor and the trea­sure he lost be­neath the At­lantic.

It’s enough to pique the once in­trepid mouse’s cu­rios­ity; he gets busy help­ing young Pete trace his clues. The truth sur­faces: to ac­cess his fam­ily’s trea­sure, Pete will have to go where no mouse has gone be­fore—to the ocean floor. He ex­per­i­ments with div­ing bells; he and the pro­fes­sor visit the aquar­ium to con­duct sci­en­tific re­search and to de­sign their sub­ma­rine.

The book’s il­lus­tra­tions draw from a muted pal­ette that seems to brighten as the ad­ven­ture ad­vances. They opt for soft lines but are rich with eye-catch­ing de­tails and make ex­cel­lent use of scale, plac­ing the ad­ven­tur­ous mice against grand back­grounds in won­der-wak­ing ways.

The mice ex­per­i­men­tally dive next to rub­ber duck­ies in the tub. Pete slouches in a school­boy cap, the pro­fes­sor sports a re­gal mouse­tache and of­ten clasps his lips around a curved pipe. At points dur­ing the mice’s ex­per­i­men­ta­tion and prepa­ra­tion, im­ages take over the sto­ry­telling; they are thrilling and ex­pres­sive enough to op­er­ate with­out words.

These mice are not daunted by their size or by size of the world around them; when X marks the spot deep on the ocean floor, it’s sim­ply a start­ing point. The book’s sketches cel­e­brate tech­nol­ogy and in­ven­tion—in ser­vice of Pete’s cap­ti­vat­ing ad­ven­ture, yes, but also in ways con­sis­tent with Kuhlmann’s pre­vi­ous, cel­e­brated ti­tles, Lind­bergh and Arm­strong.

Edi­son is a beau­ti­ful and in­spir­ing tale about two tiny crea­tures who refuse to be­lit­tle them­selves by ac­cept­ing the lim­its of “Never!” and who are awarded with history-shap­ing truth for their ef­forts.

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