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Secrets at Sea

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  1,327 ratings  ·  305 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 Books
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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

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
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
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
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
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
This book is CHARMING, CHARMING, CHARMING. First, I adore Richard Peck. His comic timing is understated and spot-on. Here he applies it to Victorian mice on a sea voyage. Think The Borrowers through the eyes of author Henry James. The dialog is funny, the situations are funny.

But will kids like it as much as Jane-Austen-fans-tolerant-of-mice-as-main-characters? Maybe not. I wish I knew the story (there must be a story) behind the dedication to Sally Lloyd-Jones, another writer I love.

Plot: Old
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Feb 19, 2013 M rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: favorites
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.
Overall a really cute book - great for kids perhaps in 4th or 5th grade. It had been a while since I read a children's novel and I have always wanted to read something by Richard Peck. I think if I had read this as a kid it would have easily gotten 5 stars. I loved that Peck used words and idioms that would be new for most children, but you could figure them out through context clues. Also some good period history thrown in. He also did a good job of personifying the mice. The book almost remind ...more
A truly delightful read. Humor, heart-warming moments, adventure, and great life-insights from the one and only Richard Peck.
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
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.
Helena is the oldest sister mouse, caring for her 3 younger siblings. (Both parents and 2 sisters older than her have already died in unfortunate accidents.) As the oldest, she feels a great responsibility to keep her little sisters and brother respectable, in line, and happy--if it can be managed. Not to mention fed and sheltered, of course.

The Upstairs Cranstons (humans) with whom they live have decided to take a trip to Europe to give their oldest daughter Her Chance. After a visit with a lo
Secrets at Sea is the story of a mouse named Helena, who is the oldest of two sisters and a brother. Unfortunately they are all that’s left of their family and reside in America with the Cranston family. When the Cranston’s get all in a bustle about marrying their oldest daughter Olive off, they set off for England to introduce her to society and hopefully her future husband. Helena gets some sage advice from a mouse next door that to keep her family together, she must travel with the Cranston’s ...more
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
Roselyn - bookmarkedpages

This book brought back memories of childhood. I went through this phase where I’d only (or at least mainly) read books about animals and I guess there’s a part of me that always will love stories of this nature. I would have adored this book even more as kid and I almost wish it had been around ten or so years ago. The truth is we never really know what animals think or do when we’re not looking and I’m always interested in stories that play on this concept.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that th
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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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.

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 The River Between Us A Season of Gifts (A Long Way from Chicago, #3)

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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.” 3 likes
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