Secrets at Sea
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Secrets at Sea

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3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  977 ratings  ·  274 reviews
Helena is big-sister mouse to three younger siblings, living a snug and well-fed life within the ancient walls of the Cranston family home. When the Cranston humans decide to sail away to England to find a husband for one of their daughters, the Cranston mice stow away in the name of family solidarity. And so begins the scamper of their lives as Helena, her siblings, and t...more
Hardcover, 238 pages
Published October 13th 2011 by Dial
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Mike Puma
May 15, 2011 Mike Puma rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: upper elementary & middle graders
Shelves: 2011, children-s-lit

Reviewed from an ARC.

4.5 Stars—4.5 tending towards 5 stars (so, I'll give it a 5)! I know what you’re thinking—I’ve wondered about it myself: What’s this crank doing reading a children’s book—a GENRE-children’s book at that? I can tell you, and I will: when a friend sends you an ARC of a Richard Peck book, and if you’ve made your living working with children’s books, AND did I mention it was a Richard Peck book (?)—well Goodreaders, you stop what you’re doing, pick up the Peck (alliteration is

...more
babyhippoface
It pains me to give a book by Richard Peck only 2 stars. I think he's a wonderful writer. His Grandma Dowdel books are absolutely hilarious. So 2 stars goes against my genuine admiration for Mr. Peck. But I just have to. It was a struggle to get through it. I just was absolutely not interested in the story or the characters. I wouldn't have cared if the ship's cat ate every last mouse on board and ended the book early. I probably would've cheered him on. Here, kitty, kitty, kitty....
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Who would have thought? Richard Peck: the 21st Century Austen for the 8 to 10 set? But he IS! This little gem of a book has all the good stuff:

A cast of talking mice whose actions and living conditions are completely believable and are in tune with children’s fantasy play; a twisting, surprising, and humorous upstairs/downstairs comedy that involves Royalty and seafaring; the perennial favorite plot progression allowing the lower class main characters go up the social ladder due to good luck and...more
The Library Lady
This is compared in the blurb to one of the most overrated children's books of the last few decades The Tale of Despereaux and it shouldn't be, because it's a lot better. No cloying "dear reader" narration here, but the charming voice of Helena, oldest surviving mouse daughter of the Cranston family.
Instead, compare this to Margery Sharp's immortal "Miss Bianca" who was served so badly by Disney's crappy film of The Rescuers. Here too is humor,wit and adventure. Not as pithy as Sharp, but well d...more
Beth Wood
Absolutely delightful. This new book by Richard Peck, which I have read before, is wonderfully written and illustrated. The language is so descriptive and evocative, you can practically see the little mice's ears twitch and whiskers wiggle. The book takes place right before Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, and the historical details definitely add to the overall story.

The Cranston mice, watched over by big sister Helena, live with the Cranston family. When the family decides they must sail to E...more
Brenda
The story centers on a family of mice (Three sisters and a brother) who live with their human companions the Cranston's. When the upstairs Cranston's deciede that it is time for one of their daughters to find a suitable husband, mice and humans must take a voyage to England. I found the story very charming. Their is lots of talk about who the Cranston's daughter should marry, titles, Queens and parties ensue. There is a few instances of peril but nothing that is to scary. Overall a fun adventure...more
Bryce
Sometimes it's not necessarily what's new that's brought to the table, but the manner and skill in which it's presented. This is such a case. Thank you Richard Peck for a few respite "date nights" with my best friend filled with humor, fake British accents, and a great message on family.
Ann Jacobus
SECRETS AT SEA is Richard Peck’s latest middle-grade novel, with lovely soft-edged illustrations by Kelly Murphy.

This is a charming historical novel about mice, and that’s a phrase I’ve never written before. It stars mice siblings in fact, and the oldest sister Helena, like every good eldest sister, is in charge and, naturally, the narrator. Most of the story takes place during a trans-Atlantic crossing aboard a great ocean liner due to reach England in time for Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee...more
Dana
The Ghost Belonged to Me by Richard Peck is one of my favorite books from my childhood so I decided to read his latest book for young children and loved it! This is fun historical fiction in which the mice living in aristocratic homes take on the personalities and rank of their "upstairs" families. This story has adventure (crossing the Atlantic bound to England,) romance, and lots of great humor. I highly recommend this one!

3rd grade and up.
Kathleen
Cute, but frothy. Never quite gets going as an adventure, misses a little bit for tone for a comedy. Entertaining probably for younger readers as a read aloud, just didn't charm me like I thought it would. But I would likely recommend as a read aloud for first or second grade, with some explaining of the historical elements necessary, like class and rank. I guess I'm just not sure who this book is meant for. Not up to Mr. Peck's usual standards.
Tuck
mice move from provincial bourgeois outer nyc life to england, to get the human family's oldest daughter married to some rich brit, if possible, as she is uglly and gauch, but then so is mom and dad. the mice decide to go with them and madcap escapades ensue on board the luxury line a la 1890's. s'ok. nice illustrations by peck's old art hand kelly murphy.
Peggy
Deeeelightful animal fantasy with Peck's signature warmth, and mix of subtle humor and all out farce. Grades 4 and up or a great read-a-loud for younger ones. For those who like Poppy, Cricket in Times Square, Tumtum and Nutmeg, The Littles, and other miniature worlds.
Alice
This charming story of a family of mice and their adventures is clever and very fun. There are plenty of interesting characters, lots of excitement, and a few plots twists. There is nothing offensive and will appeal to both genders.

Recommended for: Ages 9 - 12
amalia M
one of the best stories i have ever read. When i started to read this i thought it was not going to be good. Then i read more of Secrets at sea and i started to really like it. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a adventure.
Taylor
A truly delightful read. Humor, heart-warming moments, adventure, and great life-insights from the one and only Richard Peck.
Nancy
G: This is a companion book to "The Mouse With The Question Mark Tail" (also by Richard Peck).

Here is my summary;

Helena is oldest sister mouse of the Down Stairs Cranstons: Louise, who talks with a human; Lamont, a crazy boy mouse; and Beatrice, who has uncovered secrets. When they learn that their family, the Upstairs Cranstons, are moving to Europe, so Olive can Have Her Chance, their world is turned topsy-turvy! Helena, since she is oldest, must make the decision: should they stay? or should...more
Lei
Aug 03, 2012 Lei rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lei by: Librarian
I loved this book because it was an entertaining, light-hearted read.
Jarrett
This was seriously cute and charming. I think it would appeal most to 8-9 year old girls (but not exclusively since there is a fair bit of exciting adventure and, heck, boys can enjoy royalty and dresses and romance too). I loved the tone of the narrator - her dignity, her wry humor, her intelligence and spine. I do wonder about the language for younger readers who attempt to read to themselves. There are quite a few difficult words, arch language, and obscure historical references, so while the...more
Janene
Did you know? Every family has extra members of whom they may or may not be aware: the mice who live with them. In this simple story, the Cranston mice are about to have their world shift under their little feet. Their human family is going on a voyage across the sea, in the hopes of finding a romantic prospect for one of their homely daughters. As the mice face their fears (that's a LOT of water!) and tagalong for the ride, they find that perhaps there will be more changes for them as well. Cer...more
Josiah
"How at ease I was with a human! I wouldn't have dreamed it. I suppose it is better to start with their children, who have open minds."

Secrets at Sea, P. 171


Richard Peck not only has good moments as a writer, he's a terrific public speaker, as well. At the same time I was closing in on the end of Secrets at Sea, I was privileged to attend a live bookstore event for the Newbery Medalist, and few authors I've met come across more convincingly or forcefully than Richard Peck, all in an introspe...more
Charlyn  Trussell
Big sister Helena cares for her younger mouse siblings--Louise, Beatrice and Lamont. They live in the home of the somewhat wealthy Cranston family--Mr. and Mrs. and daughters Olive and Camilla. Both families live rather quiet lives until the Cranstons decide to go to England to find a suitable husband for Olive, their eldest daughter who appears to be headed for spinsterhood in America. Because the mice's lives are entwined with the human family, Helena prepares the siblings to travel abroad, f...more
Richie Partington
23 June 2011 SECRETS AT SEA by Richard Peck, Dial, October 2011, 256p., ISBN: 978-0-8037-3455-5

Zeppo: Say fellas, I think I hear someone.
Groucho: Well, if it's the captain, I'm gonna have a few words with him. My hot water's been cold for three days and I haven't got room enough in here to swing a cat.
In fact, I haven't even got a cat.
Chico: My grandfather can swing a cat.
Groucho: He can?
Chico: Hey, that'd make a good job for him.
-- The Marx Brothers in "Monkey Business"

"The Fenimore humans...more
Shazzer
As posted on Outside of a Dog:

2011 was a big year for mice. The eponymous Babymouse had two new adventures, including the delightfully wacky A Babymouse Christmas, Geronimo Stilton introduced a new friend, Creepella Von Cacklefur, in some spooky new adventures, Lois Lowery gave us a band of church mice in Bless This Mouse and Pip and friends helped Skilley the cat in The Cheshire Cheese Cat. And then there was Helena, Louise, Beatrice and Lamont, stars of Richard Peck’s Secrets at Sea, and their...more
Angie
Helena is the eldest sister looking out for her siblings Bernice, Louise and Lamont. They are an old family, older than the Upstairs Cranstons, the human family that lives in their house. Helena is always worrying about her siblings: Lamont likes to run wild, Bernice is a dreamer and Louise is attached to Camilla, the youngest Cranston. Then the Upstairs Cranstons decide they are leaving for Europe to find a husband for oldest daughter Olive. What are the mice to do? Well go with them of course!...more
Ruhama
Helena's life has been hectic, as she tries to keep tabs on her siblings, make a nice home after the loss of their parents and worries about all the dangers that could befall them. There also is the rumor that the Upstairs Cranstons are leaving, which could throw their all their lives into a tizzy. Why is this so important? Helena and her siblings are all mice. The Upstairs Cranstons have decided they need to head to England to find a suitable husband for Olive, the eldest daughter. Thus everyon...more
Maria
Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck tells the story of a family of mice living in the 19th century that embark on an adventurous trip across the sea. Helena, the oldest of four siblings, decides that the family must travel with their human family to England in order to stay together. The Cranstons are husband searching for their oldest daughter and decide to sail to England in last-ditch attempt to find her a suitor. Helena and her siblings attempt to make that possible for the Cranston’s oldest daug...more
Mara
Cover Blurb: It’s cute and charming, which is exactly in keeping with the story. I love the title’s font and the colors; very vibrant and fun. What I don’t quite like is the title itself. It doesn’t really capture much of what the story is about.

What I Liked: Helena is a plucky mouse heroine who takes the job of looking after her siblings very seriously. Even so, her fussing and worrying doesn’t get annoying because the behavior of her siblings really does warrant it. Helena treats Louise far be...more
Ms.Gaye
Did you know that mice dream about only two things: cheese and time running out? Did you also know apple peelings keep the curl in a mouse’s tail and mice really and truly don’t like water? Unfortunately, the mice in our story need to cross the Atlantic Ocean. That’s a lot of water! You see, it’s up to the Cranston family mice to save the day and turn an impossible situation into a success story.
While the Cranstons (Father, Mother and their two daughters, Olive and Camilla) prepare for an ocean-...more
Sarah
Anyone who grew up in the American Tale era will probably look at this cover like I did, start singing "Somewhere Out There", and pick it up. These little mice are not coming to America, however, but leaving it with their human "family", looking for new opportunities in England. Titanic lovers will enjoy lavish descriptions of the steamship and formal wear, and the sweet little mannerisms of the mice are dear, as are illustrator Kelly Murphy's illustrations. Unfortunately, legendary author Richa...more
Barbara
Apparently, when it comes to writing, there's not much that Richard Peck can't do. The author of the higly amusing A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way from Chicago as well as some particularly chilling suspense thrillers tells the story of two families, one human and one mice. When the Cranstons decide to head to London for the Queen's Jubilee and to find a husband for their older daughter, Olive, the mice that live with them hide among the luggage, and board the ship. Big sister mouse Helena has...more
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Richard Peck is an American novelist known for his prolific contributions to modern young adult literature. He was awarded the Newbery Medal in 2001 for his novel A Year Down Yonder.

Richard Peck was born in 1934 in Decatur, Illinois, a town he describes as quiet and safe. His mother, Virginia, was a dietitian and his father, Wayne, was a merchant who often rode his Harley Davidson to work.

Richard...more
More about Richard Peck...
A Long Way from Chicago (A Long Way from Chicago, #1) A Year Down Yonder (A Long Way from Chicago, #2) The Teacher's Funeral : A Comedy in Three Parts A Season of Gifts (A Long Way from Chicago, #3) The River Between Us

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“This is how you hold onto your family. You hold them with open hands so they are free to find futures of their own. It's just that simple.” 18 likes
“Fame is a funny thing, like a secret, both are hard to keep.” 2 likes
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