The journey of a young mouse, Pip Hanway, as she fights her way from wartime London to safety, is a valiant tale filled with courage, remembrance and hope.
It’s worth remembering that it wasn’t just the astounding bravery of people that helped fight the war. Often overlooked, but gaining more prevalence in recent years, are the animals who fought side by side with us and helped champion the war effort across the country of Britain – and overseas.
From the horses involved in combat and the brave search and rescue dogs of the blitz, to the extraordinary messenger pigeons who carried top secret messages across Europe, this book certainly seems to have a home for them all. It is truly an excellent read for children wanting to learn more about how animals helped during World War II.
While the story of Pip’s determination to venture through a war-torn Europe is fictional, there are elements of truth found throughout the entire book. The umbrella shop (James Smith & Sons) in central London where Pip lives with her parents at the beginning of the book is real – and still trades today, though it was its sister shop on Burlington Street which was destroyed during the blitz. The friends she meets along the way are all inspired by the lives of animals who lived during the war.
But, perhaps, the most poignant of all, is the reality of Pip struggling for survival in a world where everything seems lost. Her determination to keep fighting represents the stories and lives of many individuals (both human and animals) who were affected by the war from 1939-1945.
Her courage and resilience is to be admired, by adults and children alike.
We believe that the bravery she exudes in the face of almost-defeat, and the unrelenting feeling of hope for a better future is what makes this book so special.
With a homage to all the animals who fought and lived and died during the war, The Umbrella Mouse is a truly uplifting and important book, beautifully written and guaranteed to leave an imprint (or perhaps pawprint!) on your heart.
Take a look at the selection of very special books we put together to mark Remembrance Day by clicking here.