The Black Paw by Heather Vogel Frederick

Posted December 28, 2014 in Book Review / 0 Comments

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The Black Paw by Heather Vogel FrederickThe Black Paw by Heather Vogel Frederick
Illustrator: Sally Wern Comport
Series: Spy Mice #1
Published by Simon & Schuster on October 1st 2006
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Mystery
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift
Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

For Oz Levinson, life is always the same. No matter what school he goes to, it's always sharks -- bullies -- versus everyone else. What would Oz's hero, James Bond, aka 007, do? He would make mincemeat of the sharks. But Oz is no 007 -- more like double-o-lard.

Then Oz meets Glory Mouse, a skateboarding private eye trying to take down the evil rat leader, Roquefort Dupont, and Oz is swept into a exciting world of espionage. But this is no make-believe movie. It's real life: mice vs. rats, kids vs. bullies, good vs. evil.

And all the power lies in one paw.

Main Points
Writing Style:
The writing was great. Very fast-paced, appropriate for a spy novel.
Plot:
This book was really cool. The level of description was awesome- every contraption the mice used was explained so we know what old parts they used to make it. And the several plots rolled up into one- Glory’s job, Oz’s friendlessness and bullying, Glory’s love life, her missing father, and of course Dupont’s scheming. It was very well written. Suspenseful and full of action, but not without those stop-and-smell-the-roses moments. I enjoyed it a lot. The detail in the world of the mice (well, animals in general, really) was incredible- it was like they were living in their own world but layered on top of ours. They had the same kind of agencies and houses and transport systems. They used our computers, but still had devices of their own. It was super cool. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.
Good vs. Bad
Good:
  • writing
  • plot
  • characters
  • ending
Less than perfect:
  • character development (there was a little, but not a lot)
Bottom Line
This was a really cool, fast-paced and detailed story. It was definitely more of a plot-based story than a character-driven story, but there’s room for more development in the rest of the series. The writing and ‘world-building’ were great. Would I read more by this author? Yep. Would I recommend this to others? Sure. Kids would really get into this.

About Heather Vogel Frederick

Before I became a writer, I was a reader—and still am.

I was born in Peterborough, New Hampshire into a family of bookworms, and spent most of my childhood holed up in the library or in my bedroom, reading. My mother used to say that if Heather had her nose in a book, the house would have to burn down around her before she’d sit up and take notice! Those are the best books, though, aren’t they? The ones that take your imagination by storm and spirit you off into a different world?

My father was an elementary schoolteacher and principal, and every night before bed he’d read to me and my two younger sisters. He’s a talented actor (he performs in plays on Cape Cod all the time) and always came up with great voices for the characters. I think his finest role was as Aunt Sponge in Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, performed in our living room.

I was also fortunate enough to be born into a family of what my grandmother called “big talkers”—talented storytellers, especially the women. I loved to hide behind chairs and sofas when my mother and grandmother and aunts got together and eavesdrop on their stories. My grandmother’s were the funniest and the best, and I begged to hear about her childhood in rural Nova Scotia over and over again.

Rating
Plot
four-half-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Setting
four-stars
Romance
three-stars
Cover
four-half-stars
Overall: four-stars
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