The ‘Books and Authors’ site for December 20th makes an interesting observation: "Every couple of years a strange phenomenon occurs within children’s publishing; a number of books will appear on the same subject without any identifiable trigger."
And for 2011 the subject is mice.
At the launch party, I mentioned that when my agent started shopping ‘Mousenet’ to publishers she found one or two who liked the book, but already had their mouse books for the season, thank you very much. I’d no idea that it was raining mice quite so heavily. This year there are at least five mouse books - which might not be remarkable were it not for the fact that four of these are by authors at the top of the tree. Three are ex-Newbery winners, no less (‘Secrets at Sea’ by Richard Peck, ‘Bless This Mouse’ by Lois Lowry and ‘Young Fredle’ by Cynthia Voigt). Meanwhile Carmen Agra Deedy, the author of ‘The Cheshire Cheese Cat,’ (which has mice as heroes) has won at least 45 awards for past books.
I’m delighted that 'Books and Authors' included ‘Mousenet’ in this exalted company-complete with a link to the website of the Mouse Nation. But what is it about those top-tier authors that led them all to mice? Are they being secretly brainwashed by the Nation’s Public Relations department, working through the clans that live behind the authors’ walls, and know everything?