With The Courage Of A Mouse follows the path of Catt the Cat, as she unexpectedly lands in Sweet Meadows, and Simon Cheddar, a mouse with a plan and a destiny, as they maneuver through a tricky friendship and Superhero School together.
The book focuses on such redeeming messages as courage, friendship, kindness, meeting challenges head on, the new meaning of being homeless, and finding the superhero inside us all, also serving as an incredible adventure story to save Catt.
The Superhero School Series (meant for school-age children, ages 7-12) also touches on common life themes and challenges with humor, patience, and self-improvement techniques
Targeted Age Group:: Middle grade 6-12 y.o.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
This book and series were inspired by my youngest granddaughter. One night while I was reading a story, she asked: “What does your cat do when she’s gone all night?”
I didn’t have any answer until a few weeks later, when I began telling the story of Catt—a superhero cat that saved her animal friends. My grands loved it!
Needless to say, they convinced me to write this story of how Catt became a Superhero, and so the Superhero School was born and brought to life in this first of the series, With the Courage of a Mouse.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Catt was the focus of the original story and attending Superhero School was important to tell that story. Most of the remaining characters were created as students at the school.
Then Simon Cheddar was introduced. He is an adventurous mouse and quite the inventor and collector. A mouse version of McGyver.
While Simon was supposed to be just another student at Superhero School, he would not wait in the wings for his own book. He insisted that he was the best candidate to teach anyone how to have courage—something Catt needed.
After many interrupted writing sessions filled with crazy Simon-isms, I finally relented and made Simon Cheddar the co-main character…and the adventure truly began.
A great shadow fell across the field, yet the mouse didn’t run. He shook one fist and hurled a pebble at the diving hawk. “Come on, you mean old hawk! Just try to have me for
breakfast!” He flung the words toward the sky.
The hawk hardly noticed the small stone when it bumped against his chest before hitting the ground. Curious behavior for a mouse. The hawk cocked his head to stare one-eyed at his prey. This mouse would be a tasty snack before the next hunt.
The hawk stretched his sharp claws and swooped down to the field, wingtips skimming the grass. He snatched the mouse with a quick plunge and pluck. His wings gained air with each mighty flap.
“So you think you’ve won? Well, I have a surprise for you!” the mouse yelled, wiggling his arms loose from the hawk’s talons. He dug through his pockets and pulled out a pair of golden nail clippers. Brow furrowed, the mouse focused on every clip and snip.
After the third claw fell away, the hawk looked down to see what the mouse was doing. He watched in horror as his beautiful, sharp talons disappeared, each one trimmed to a nub. The hawk gaped, helpless, as the mouse slipped from his grasp and fell.
The hawk worried that he wouldn’t be able to catch anything with claws that now resembled neatly trimmed fin- gernails. Embarrassed to have been outwitted by a mouse, the hawk flew to a nearby tree to hide.
Simon Cheddar prided himself on being prepared. That’s why he wore a vest and overcoat. Their many pockets, nooks, and folds, kept his tools and treasures tucked away. Today would have been much worse, if not for those clippers he’d stashed away for later.
He never knew what would prove useful. His vest and coat linings held an abundance of found items. String. A needle. A thimble. Matches. A bottle cap. Rubber bands. Thumbtacks. And a cotton ball. Lots more, but he only remembered the things he saw while searching for the clippers.
Now, falling through the air, he had an even bigger prob- lem—one he wasn’t sure anything in his pockets would solve. Simon gulped as he looked down into the hungry gold-green eyes of a gray and white cat.
Simon panicked. He was falling fast. He didn’t have wings, nor did he know any birds to call for help. He was going to die. Escaping that hawk hadn’t saved him after all.
Simon sorted through his pockets for a solution. He con- sidered each item before tossing it aside.
Maybe use some string to turn his overcoat into a make- shift parachute?
Not enough time.
If he wrapped himself inside the cotton ball, he could bounce softly instead of smacking the hard, rocky ground.
Nope. Wouldn’t work.
The cotton ball wasn’t big enough.
Simon watched the cat pace in a large circle. It looked up and down, between Simon and the ground, trying to find the best spot to catch him.
All the joy Simon had felt melted away. He was prepared to die from the fall. That was an honorable death. Simon wouldn’t mind that.
But being eaten by a cat? Not without a fight, Simon thought.
His body fell faster. The distance between him and the waiting cat grew smaller. The cat loomed, its teeth gleaming in the sunshine.
Simon considered the items left in his pockets. He pulled each one out, dismissed it, and let it fall away. Then the tip of his nail caught on a small stick of wood, hidden along the seam. His tiny paw clutched the matchstick, while a brilliant plan took form.
Timing was everything.
Simon held his breath. He was so close to the cat, he swore he could feel its breath as it hissed past those menacing teeth. Simon counted slowly. He held the matchstick like a battle sword, then struck it across his worn sleeve. Simon watched the small flame sputter to life, praying the wind wouldn’t blow it out. He closed his eyes, swallowed hard, and hoped the universe was on his side.
This plan would either be his greatest…or his last. When Simon felt the cat’s whiskers tickle his toes, he opened his eyes and aimed for its gaping mouth. He jammed the lit match between the cat’s fangs, then, using the stick like a monkey bar, swung himself down to the ground.
Simon shook the dirt from his rumpled vest and coat. He gathered his scattered treasures, stuffing them back inside his pockets.
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