Of Mice and Nutcrackers: A Peeler Christmas
Tundra, 2001 (2001)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
f Mice and Nutcrackers
continues the adventures of the Peeler family, last seen on a hilarious family car trip in
The Way to Schenectady
. It starts with Bernie wheezing in a clinic waiting room, filled '
with coughers. Also sniffers and wheezers, moaners and drippers.
' It's December after all, and Christmas is coming. Jane Peeler is preoccupied with other things - her school production of
a ballet with music you remember from
', for which Jane is director.
hen the kids spot the ominous '
duck of doom
', the reader knows there are storms looming, and indeed Jane's life starts to fall apart. The family is quarantined; her stay-at-home dad gets pneumonia and her '
' grandmother takes over from him; rehearsals are plagued with attacks by computer mice; Jane's best friend is jealous; and the show's star has last minute stage fright. There are marbles at midnight, cat food sandwiches and mousetraps, and a hilarious confrontation with the basketball team.
ane is a strong teen heroine, compassionate and a leader, who keeps a cool head and learns a great deal about her peers while directing them on stage. Several cast members show unexpected strengths, and in the process Jane learns how '
' should act.
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