Debatables: The Most Appealing Mouse

Welcome once again to Debatables, the monthly column where esoteric kid-lit questions are argued with way too much passion. (Last month, I was unable to fulfill my Debatables duties, so I’d like to thank my debate substitute, the great and wonderful Jilanne Hoffmann, who won the battle hands down.)

My Debatables sparring opponent is, as usual, my colleague, friend, and collegial frenemy, Cricket Muse.

Here are the Debatables ground rules:

Each debater is allowed one brief argument (fewer than 300 words) on a previously agreed-upon topic. These brief arguments will then be followed by a briefer rebuttal (fewer than 150 words).

This month’s debate is near and dear to my pro-rodent (prodent) heart.

To celebrate my upcoming picture book, Scampers Thinks Like a Scientist (Preorder it now!), Cricket and I have decided on a mousey topic:

Who Is The Most Appealing Mouse In Middle Grade Fiction?

I chose the inimitable Amos from Ben and Me.

And Cricket chose Reepicheep, the warrior mouse from the Narnia series.

So! Let’s get started.


Mike: American history wouldn’t have been the same without Amos. The eldest of 25 siblings, Amos demonstrates his admirable character traits from the outset by selflessly volunteering to leave the comforts of home to provide for his hungry family. He soon meets Benjamin Franklin (by way of Benjamin Franklin’s comfortable fur hat) and demonstrates his worth almost immediately by inventing the Franklin stove.

Franklin is, of course, dazzled and negotiates a contractually bound creative partnership that promises a bountiful, lifetime supply of cheese, wheat, and rye for Amos’s family.

As for Amos’s end of the bargain, the mouse agreed to impart a lifetime’s worth of wisdom. Declaration of Independence? Amos suggested most of it. Electricity? Amos endured a series of cruel and unusual electrical experiments.

Not cool, Ben. Not cool at all!

And—according to the Disney cartoon—Amos also invented bifocals.

Amos never failed to help out a fellow mouse. Toward the end of the book, when Franklin was wasting time canoodling with some French hotties, Amos led a palace attack to rescue the imprisoned children of a white mouse named Sophia. (Amos’s actions, by the way, were not born out of amorous desire, for he also reunited Sophia with her lawfully wedded husband.)

Time and time again Amos proved himself to be kind, creative, brave, inventive, patriotic, altruistic, and fiercely devoted to both man and mice.

I cannot even begin to imagine a personality that could be more appealing.


Cricket Muse: Mike, for a writer guy of great imagination, how did you manage to overlook Reepicheep? “Here then is a mouse, when can there be such another?” I throw that paraphrased quote in there because Reepicheep is an incredibly appealing mouse. No mouse can be more appealing than this gentle warrior. Take a look at his vitae:

  • Chief Talking Mouse of Narnia
  • Concerned with honor
  • Descendent of the mice who freed Aslan from the Stone Table
  • Fights willingly for friends and good causes
  • Veteran of glorious battles
  • Tamer of dragons
  • Well-read, has a home library
  • Excellent sword skills
  • Fearless–sought to fulfill the prophecy to find the “utter East,” Aslan’s country
  • Adventurer–sailed with Prince Caspian.
  • Made a knight of the Most Noble Order of the Lion
  • Skilled chess player
  • Storyteller
  • Befriends the unloved and miserable, as in boys turned into dragons

This is a Renaissance mouse. He is well-spoken, elegant of manner, knowledgeable, respected by kings and queens, a skilled fighter, and is so revered that the other mice were willing to lop off their own tails when Reep lost his in battle. Aslan recognizing the fierce devotion of Reepicheep’s followers, restored his tail. It is no stretch to say that Reepicheep is one of Narnia’s most memorable AND appealing characters. He is a mouse among mice.

One of Reepicheep’s endearing qualities is his ability to set aside his pride and accept a hug.

All in all? Reepicheep is one heckuva mouse. No hat hiding for this mouse. He is out and about shaping history and not having to hide behind anybody’s name because he makes his own fame.


Mike’s Rebuttal: You are being disingenuous, Cricket. Amos is not “hiding behind anyone’s name.” He is just a humble mouse with humble needs. He has no lust for fame or fortune. And he certainly isn’t vain enough to pester a Jesus figure for a replacement tail.

As for bravery, Amos is every bit as heroic as your candidate, perhaps more so. After all, Reepicheep is two feet tall (!), is always wielding a sword, and leads a standing army; Amos is just a little mouse with a big heart.

And let’s not forget that Amos is a fine writer, contributing to the historical record by penning his memoirs on eensy teensy scraps of paper. A mouse of letters is a very appealing thing indeed!

In my opinion, there are no bad rodents. Reepicheep is certainly worthy of great respect and hugs. But Amos is the more appealing.


Cricket’s Rebuttal: Mike, there is one glaring fault to your argument. If Amos is so great, then why was he only known to Ben? Humility plays no part in this. Amos never spoke with any other human in his time with Mr. Franklin. This gives ponderment as to whether Amos is merely a figment of Ben’s ample imagination. On the other hand, Reepicheep, warrior, true, but one with a gentle heart, was known to all, and left a deep impression upon all who encountered him. Honored by Aslan, befriended by a dragon, knighted by a king, and loved by MILLIONS of readers, Reepicheep is a mouse of the MOST appealing nature. As for the tail comment, tsk, Mike. You might have alienated loyal Narnia followers with that one. As I recall your Amos did his share of fighting–ruined a good party, and Ben’s popularity with the French. Some nice mouse.


And that’s the debate—which is a shame since Cricket’s rebuttal NEEDS a factual response. But, hey, that’s what the comments are for!

So! Who won the debate? Do you have an appealing mouse candidate who wasn’t mentioned here? Leave a comment! We wanna hear from you!

89 Replies to “Debatables: The Most Appealing Mouse”

  1. Amos? Really? That spelling bee prep has you all discombobulated.

    On Tue, Feb 19, 2019 at 8:37 AM Hey, Look! A Writer Fellow! wrote:

    > heylookawriterfellow posted: “Welcome once again to Debatables, the > monthly column where esoteric kid-lit questions are argued with way too > much passion. (Last month, I was unable to fulfill my Debatables duties, so > I’d like to thank my debate substitute, the great and wonderful Jilan” >

  2. But … but … but ………………………………. what about Fievel Mousekewitz? and Jac and Gus who helped out Cinderella so much! Awesome sewers those two!!

    And OMG Mickey!!! And Minnie!! And Jerry! The way he foiled Tom all the time…oh wait, y’all are probably too young for Tom and Jerry….Danger Mouse…….?


  3. Oh, Mike? I missed the memo on the update to rebuttal requirements. Since when is a FACT required in the argument? My reply is a means of defending accusations and plumping my case for an amazingly appealing mouse—Reepicheep. You want a fact? Reepicheep has a dedicated following. Check out his fan sites ( fan sites? *kaff* *kaff*

    1. Oh, dear. I just assumed you understood that you can’t say things that you know aren’t true.

      For example, it is impossible that Amos could have been a figment of Ben’s imagination. Amos left a tiny memoir (since authenticated) of his life and times in a long forgotten colonial mouse hole.

      1. You didn’t strike me as a spreader of fake news, but fine. I can play…

        Narnia is the fever dream of shellshocked WWII children.

        *drops mike, goes off to get another cup of coffee*

  4. I’ll be honest here. I didn’t know about either of these mice until I read this post. You both put up pretty strong cases and it’s hard to decide. So I’m going to call it a draw for you and instead submit my own mouse for consideration: Tina, the mouse from one of my favorite children’s books, The Sugar Mouse Cake.

  5. So… since I am not really familiar with either mouse, I am having a hard time deciding which to choose. But I would first like to say Congrats on the new book Mike! I can’t wait to see it.
    I like both mice in this debate so I am not going to weigh in this time. 🙂

  6. I vote for Amos. If I was the middle grade reader, I could identify with his character attributes the most. Reepicheep is an overachiever from a line of overachievers–I’d start getting jealous.

    1. A mouse concerned with righting wrongs? A mouse noted for his valiant values an overachiever? Time to revisit Narnia. Reepicheep is a courageous mouse, not to be mixed up with overachiever needs, like bragging about all the inventions he supposedly invented, barely acknowledging Ben’s genius.

  7. I vote for Reepicheep. A truly memorable mouse: a reader and a warrior. Preordered the new book, Mike. Looking forward to reading it before I gift it to my great-niece and great-nephew (twins whose parents believe have way too many toys but books are always welcome gifts!)

    1. Wait, wait—Amos did his fair share of sword brandishing and did so in disregard of his patron. This is the type of mouse you prefer? I’m surprised, Jilanne. I thought you knew the different between chivalry and reckless abandon.

  8. Reepicheep the brave and noble knight, tamer of dragons, and spokesmouse supreme is a fine and deserving rodent. But it’s Amos who wins my heart. He is relatable, an everyday character whose natural talents help change the course of history.

  9. Reep, no doubt. The only mouse (of all the many, many mice — Stuart Little, anyone? Despereaux?) in all of middle grade fiction who could hold a candle to Reepicheep is, sorry, not Amos: it’s Miss Bianca. I really don’t understand how ONE of you didn’t choose her! But, since she’s not on the ballot, my vote goes to Reepicheep.

  10. Miss Bianca is indeed a notable mouse. It wasn’t easy to decide upon which mouse to promote. *sigh* So many worthy mice to choose from, and you chose wisely. Thanks for the vote.

  11. Ugh! Mice! That is all.
    I have nothing positive to add to this discussion. It has been way too long since I read The Chronicles of Narnia, and I’ve not read the other one. Once you’ve had creepy little mice in your house, you never look on them with anything other than horror on your face.
    A Horror Faced reader.

      1. Sorry. I grew up on a farm where animals served a purpose and were not romanticized and mice were considered vermin. And then there’s this: “Hantavirus is a virus that is found in the urine, saliva, or droppings of infected deer mice and some other wild rodents (cotton rats, rice rats in the southeastern Unites States and the white-footed mouse and the red-backed vole). It causes a rare but serious lung disease called Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS).”

        Other than not liking mice, I really am a very nice person.

      2. I am sorry, I chose your mouse debate to air my feelings on mice. Please feel free to delete both of my comments. I’m normally more sensitive than that, I just have very, very strong feelings about mice.

    1. To elaborate (as I dodge things thrown by a cow inexplicably telling me jokes): I vote based on the requirement that the mouse be ‘appealing.’ Reepicheep is awesome, but he is scary. He waves a sword around and takes down full-sized men.

      So… If you find outsized rodents who suddenly appear on your shoulder with a deadly weapon to be appealing, then he’s your man. Er, mouse.

      I don’t, so I vote for Amos.

  12. Oof, both are well-spoken for and I enjoyed reading both arguments! But my vote ultimately goes to Reepicheep!

    I’d like to toss this out here – but thoughts on Geronimo Stilton?

  13. Another intelligent, discerning voter recognizing the amazing appeal of Reepicheep. Thanks for the vote! As for Geronimo? Wasn’t aware of the series. Looked it up and surprised to learn about this Italian mouse. Thanks for the tip.

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