Daren King (3 stars)

Mouse Noses on Toast (Faber)


The number of authors who shift from adult to kids fiction per year probably matches the annual rumour count about who will be killed off in the next Harry Potter. The news that Daren King was to make the shift was less of a shock than someone like Jeanette Winterson, for King’s writing has always had a childlike touch. Ghost giraffes, teen drug veterans and nine-year-olds thrust into the adult world have been among his characters to date.

Here, he goes the whole hog with a cute yet sinister tale of Paul Mouse (a cheese-hating rodent), who organises a revolution against the vile eating habits in posh restaurants. Aiding his campaign are Rowley Barker Hobbs (a dog), Tinby (an abstract tin monster) and Sandra (a Christmas tree decoration). As you’d imagine, there is plenty for the adult to get out of this story, though in such over-sensitive times can we really have the PM being splatted by mouse noses at a press conference?

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