Review of Orris and Timble: The Beginning, by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Carmen Mok

Orris and Timble

The Beginning

by Kate DiCamillo
illustrated by Carmen Mok

Candlewick, 2024. 80 pages.
Review written May 8, 2024, from a library book
Starred Review

This is the start of a new beginning chapter book series by Kate DiCamillo, and it’s tender and sweet and brilliant.

Orris the rat lives in an old abandoned barn. We see his treasures: A red velvet slipper, a yellow marble, and a sardine can. The sardine can is for “Imperial Sardines” and has the picture of a fish wearing a crown and saying, “Make the good and noble choice!!”

That phrase haunts Orris when he discovers a young owl with his claws caught in a mousetrap nailed to the floor, crying for help. Owls eat rats, so at first Orris leaves the owl struggling and goes back to his own home. But in spite of himself, he wants to make the good and noble choice.

I like the way when Orris decides to save the owl, whose name is Timble, Orris is obviously frustrated with himself and says, “For the love of Pete!”

And this book tells, in simple but evocative language, how Orris rescues Timble, and how this becomes the beginning of their friendship.

This book is lovely – beautifully illustrated and with a warmly relatable story as we see Orris make the good and noble choice despite great fear – and then reap the consequences.

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