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Secrets at Sea

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  2,143 ratings  ·  407 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, a
Hardcover, 238 pages
Published October 13th 2011 by Dial Penguin for Young Readers
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Dyslexic Bookmonster Yes, in my opinion, it is certainly interesting. Not only because of the humour present in the story and the variety of characters and personalities. …moreYes, in my opinion, it is certainly interesting. Not only because of the humour present in the story and the variety of characters and personalities. But also because it is like looking back into time with a fantasy twist to it all.
Besides, it is just an incredibly adorable read. That alone was enough for me to pick it up. I enjoy Peck's children's books immensely, at least the ones I have read so far. (less)

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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,143 ratings  ·  407 reviews

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Mike Puma
May 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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

Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kids-fiction, fantasy
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
Oct 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
"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
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A delight from start to finish: full of ridiculous jokes, absurd situations and a general air of total impossibility. Just wonderful.

2019 - I picked this up from the library and it took me a chapter or so to realise it was very familiar: I'd read it only 18 months ago. But the book is so delightfully written it was a joy to read it again. I don't think it's really intended as a children's book: there are far to many sly references to things that will go over the heads of most kids, and the style
Beth Wood
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: funny, children
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
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-we-own
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.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
If The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail was a Boy Mouse's Own Adventure plus Downton Abbey for mice, this volume is definitely for the girl readers. However I wouldn't say they were "just" children's books, as much of the satire and sarcasm would be lost on kids today. It all goes back to the 19th century children's classics and adult novels of the Edith Wharton/Henry James sort, of the wealthy, crass Americans who go on a Grand Tour of Europe and hope to marry their daughter to a title. Which ...more
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Picked up this book on Audio because I like Richard Peck. I also grabbed a Christmas story. I thought I was putting the Christmas story in the CD player. Listened to A whole track before Helena says, "We're mice" Oh, Haha, that makes more sense.

This was a really fun story, and had a lot of historical detail, even though it was about mice.

I enjoy stories about really tiny things, like The Borrowers, Beatrix Potter's story, and such, and this one was really funny and also had a good ending.
مروة الجزائري
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

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the amazing aspect of it as many of you who read and reviewed it here in Goodreads.
It was a plain read nothing special. Maybe suitable for the young princesses but I don’t know if I will recommend it or not.
Ann Jacobus
May 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 02, 2014 rated it liked it

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
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A cute mouse-tale with very nice artwork.
I didn't realize that behind many successful families there could be an army of mice modeling their lives and influencing outcomes--an imaginative premise.
Feb 28, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books, fiction
I usually like stories of animals having adventures such as this, but I found this story rather dull and there were a few things every now and again I didn't the eldest girl spoke of her youngest brother and boys in general, a scene looking into a "crystal ball" which was really a marble, and the repeated phrases over and over again by the main character got very tiresome.

For the audio, the narrator was only okay, I thought, and and didn't have an inviting reading voice.
I could only
Dana Grimes
Dec 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
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.
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
A 2.5 star. I think it was a creative idea and stories of mice are tried and true (Motorcycle Ralph; Miss Frisby and Rats of Nimh; Redwall, etc). Although this story is aimed at young readers it feels long and there are too many characters, it's hard to keep the mouse character names seperate from the human character names. Overall, it was cute. I wouldn't worry about Belle reading it other than getting frustrated.
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.
Dec 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
The book was okay. I expected a more engaging story from Richard Peck. The story takes place on a cruses ship from America to England. A family of mice accompany their human family on a trip to England where the humans hope to find a husband for their oldest daughter. Some drama ensues as the mice encounter the ship’s cat and various members of the royal family (both mice and humans).
Oct 23, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
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.
Dec 27, 2012 rated it liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thought the book was very well written, I enjoyed how the mice used human items as their own. Such as matchboxes, combs, marbles, etc. Unlike others, I thought the story flowed very well and at a nice pace. I would definitely recommend this to fellow book readers.
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 4th-grade-level
A truly delightful read. Humor, heart-warming moments, adventure, and great life-insights from the one and only Richard Peck.
Mar 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lei by: Librarian
I loved this book because it was an entertaining, light-hearted read.
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In the past I have loved several of Richard Peck's tales - but looking back, they were about actual people in realistic, and often humorous, situations. This story is about mice - who act like humans. Helena, Beatrice, Louise and their little brother, Lamont, consider themselves the "downstairs Cranston's" because they live in a home with the Cranston family. The humans are considered the "upstairs Cranston's." When the human Cranston's decide to make a journey by boat to England to find a husba ...more
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fiction
Secrets at Sea is a book in first person about a family of mice that only have three girls and a boy without parents. They soon find out that the family that they are living with, the Cranstons, are going across the ocean to Europe and marry their oldest daughter off, as the writer states through Helena who is the mouse that the writer writes her in first person, that mice are afraid of water, and their two older sisters and mother died in a creek only three feet long when her aunt, Fannie Fenni ...more
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The best reason for a river that I can think of is for drowning cats.

This book is entirely silly but oh so enjoyable! Richard Peck had me laughing all the way through this story which is told by a mouse named Helena... she is the oldest (as she likes to brag), her two sisters Beatrice and Louise, and their brother Lamont.

"Curiosity killed the cat," I called out to her. This is one of my favorite sayings.

It reminded me a lot of The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. I don't know why
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Richard Peck was 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. For his cumulative contribution to young-adult literature, he received the Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association in 1990.

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