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Literature / Mousenet

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Mousenet, subtitled with "When Mice Do More Than Point and Click," is a 2011 children's fiction book, written by Prudence Breitrose, with illustrations by Stephanie Yue, published by Disney Hyperion. Per the author, the book was inspired by a dream of hers in which computer mice became mixed up with real mice. In the story, the human invention of computers has allowed mice to evolve, allowing them to create their own Internet society and develop their own form of sign language. The events of the story are set in motion when the main human protagonists' uncle invents the "Thumbtop," the world's smallest computer. Thus begins their mission: to make contact for the first time ever and begin mass production of the Thumbtop, a device that is not practical for humans, but is just the right size for mice. To do this, however, they must first win the trust of Megan Miller, a girl that until recently had been living in the wild, the niece of the inventor of the Thumbtop.

The book has an official website that is worked into the book itself, and a sequel, Mousemobile, was released in 2013. Subtitled "When Mice Hit the Road, the publication information inside describes it as being "A Mousenet book." In this book, the mice are forced to hit the road after a possible betrayal from within.

A third book, Mouse Mission, is slated for release in October 2015.

Mousenet provides examples of:

  • Amicable Exes: Megan's mom and dad, who Megan's mom said "followed their bliss." She wanted to study animals in the wild, while he dreamed of opening a fancy French restaurant.
  • Busman's Holiday: Whiskerpedia, the website where mice go to get their information, describes a "vacation" as being a period of enforced boredom which humans pretend to enjoy, doing things such as immersing themselves in water until their pelts wrinkle or inflicting pain on their bodies with unaccustomed exercise. Therefore, when Megan has to temporarily stop the mice from doing their regular jobs, she gives them another job to do, rather than forcing a vacation on them.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: This is part of the "EEEK Test," a test used by mice to gauge a humans' feelings towards mice. Jumping on a chair results in a "Loud EEEK" and a grade of C, with fainting being the worst possible response and earning an F. Talking to or touching the mouse is "No EEEK" and an A+.
  • Green Aesop: Not the main plot of the story, but still heavily featured. The main character and her mother are heavily into saving the environment, and the mice are concerned with the issue as well. Part of their plan for acquiring the Thumbtops is a promise to help slow or halt climate change. It is much more heavily at play in the sequel, Mousemobile.
  • Mama Bear: Megan's mother is described as being like this in Mousemobile when Megan is in danger.
  • Mouse World: While many of the mice in the story interact with the main human character (and a select few others), they also maintain their own secret society, including a headquarters in an abandoned office building.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Mousemobile features a celebrity called "Daisy Dakota" who is an obvious reference to Hannah Montana.
  • Partially Civilized Animal/Talking Animal: Since the mice evolved after the invention of computers, they have adopted many human-like behaviors, though they are in many ways still mice-like. They also mainly communicate through their own form of sign language, as about one mouse in a million is born with the necessary mutation to their mouth that would make it possible for them to talk. Those that have this mutation are sent off to Talking Mouse School at an early age
  • The Power of Friendship: The mice have a highly organized, hierarchical structure that doesn't really allow for friendship, but Megan develops a friendship with her talking mouse communicator, Trey, and helps the other mice to see that friendship can result in big things.
  • Tagline: "When mice do more than point and click."