Friday Reads: “Orris and Timble: The Beginning” by Kate DiCamillo

Book 1 in a new series, Orris, a rat, lived in an abandoned barn.  He was happy there. One of his prized possessions was an old sardine can.  It had a picture of a sardine king on the can, and the king said, “Make the good and noble choice.”  He contemplated this advice regularly.

One evening Orris hears a horrible screech and a cry for help.  Orris looked out from his nest to see a young owl caught in a mousetrap.  The rat is not planning on helping his natural enemy until he recalls the sardine king’s advice.  Slowly he moves towards the owl, asking him to stand completely still.  Next to the talons, Orris pulls on the metal of the trap and tells the owl to move.  When the owl is free, Orris is terrified and cowers, then creeps slowly to his nest. 

But, rather than prey, the owl, Timble, thinks of Orris as a friend.  Orris tells Timble the fable of The Lion and the Mouse.  Soon they plan to meet every evening for more stories. 

A marvelous introduction to the two main characters and the wonder of storytelling. “Make the good and noble choice” could show up again in future titles of the series. 

This is an early chapter book aimed at readers who are ready for something longer than a beginning reader but not ready for a full-fledged novel, though many readers will enjoy it.

Orris and Timble: The Beginning, by Kate DiCamillo. Candlewick Press, 2024.

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