Today Marshmallow reviews Clarice the Brave, a 2021 novel by Lisa McMann.
Marshmallow’ Quick Take: If you like books about animals, friendship, or family, then this might be the book for you.
Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Clarice and her brother Charles Sebastian are ship mice. Their mother was born on land, but all Clarice has known is the vicious ocean. She doesn’t understand why her mother chose to live at sea, especially since it is so dangerous; Clarice’s mother drowned in the ocean during a storm. And that’s just the beginning of Clarice’s problems. The crew of the ship she lives on recently had a mutiny. The Captain and those loyal to him were shipped off to die on the open ocean. Unfortunately, Clarice and the Captain’s cat were also put on that boat, while her brother is stuck on the ship with the mutineers. The Captain’s cat, named Special Lady, killed and ate Clarice’s older sister. However, Clarice soon realizes that she and Special Lady must cooperate to survive. Eventually, Clarice and Special Lady start to sneak each other food, in a sort of trade. This leads, slowly, to their eventual friendship.
Meanwhile, on the ship with the mutineers, Charles Sebastian is left alone without his family. Charles Sebastian was always an unusual mouse, and so Clarice is very worried about whether he will be able to take care of himself. Charles Sebastian starts to hang out with a young girl named Benjelloun who is imprisoned by the mutineers, because she heard about their mutiny, which is illegal. Benjelloun is mistreated by the crew, left outside in the storm, and such. Eventually, Charles Sebastian learns that not all humans are bad.
Clarice has one goal: to find her brother again. But the odds seem impossible. Perhaps, with the help of Special Lady, she can see him once more. And the big question is: will they survive and live happily ever after?
Marshmallow’s Review: Clarice the Brave tells a very touching tale. I think that the book is also interesting because the story is told from the perspective of two mice. In some ways the book reminded me of Poppy and Rye and the rest of the stories of the mice of Dimwood Forest that Caramel has reviewed. But unlike in those books, each chapter in this book is actually narrated by one of the mice, either Clarice or her brother Charles Sebastian. Chapters narrated by each can be identified easily; at the start of each chapter, there is a small portrait of the specific mouse narrating that chapter.
There are also a few full-page illustrations throughout the book. They are done by Antonio Caparo, and they help the reader visualize some of the events going on.
It was really interesting to see how the characters develop through the book. For example, Charles Sebastian grows up into a braver version of himself as he needs to take care of himself all by himself. Charles Sebastian’s friendship with Benjelloun and the friendship between Clarice and Special Lady were both well developed.
This sweet story could be enjoyed by bunnies of all ages; I think bunnies seven and up could appreciate the tale of Clarice the Brave and her friends.
Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.