Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Guess the Plot
Squeaky McLean and Mouse Tails
1. A mouse detective must track down a predatory farmer's wife and her carving knife... before she strikes again.
2. Grandma raised Squeaky to keep an eye out for the big score. So when he found mouse tails in his McLean sandwich, he reached for his phone and dialed his lawyer. Now he has the mansion of his dreams and a memoir worth writing.
3. Jeff "Squeaky" McLean was once a star of his own kiddie TV show "Mouse Tails", playing Squeaky while wearing a mouse costume with his marionette mouse Cheesy. But the kids are gone, the lights shut off, and Cheesy is talking about hijacking a gasoline tanker.
4. Nobel Prize-winning microbiologist Sandra 'Squeaky' McLean synthesizes an amazing new protein which could unlock the door to eternal youth but to her horror she discovers that something isn't right with her lab mice.
5. A series of cautionary tails (haha) in which the dangers of e coli are graphically represented with whimsical illustrations of infection and death.
6. When Claw Clarey, aspiring evil overlord feline, sets out to make cats the dominant species on the planet, it's up to Squeaky McLean, mouse detective, to thwart him and save us all from servitude.
For mouse detective Squeaky McLean, this is the worst day ever. [All the cheese is missing. If that's the problem I suggest changing the title to Squeaky McLean and the Case of the Missing Cheese.] His feline nemesis, and Marsupopolis's biggest crime boss, Claw Clarey, has co-ordinated a mass breakout from prisons all around the world. Heinous criminals [including Tom, Sylvester, and Scratchy] are pouring back onto the streets. Claw's aim? To gather an army of evil creatures who can help him restore cats to the dark glory of ancient times. Never mind that most cats aren't into that stuff nowadays. [And never mind that Tom, Sylvester and Scratchy have a record of 0 - 1437.] Claw's got a vision, and he's sticking to it.
To stop Claw from achieving his ultimate goal, Squeaky begins a frantic search for chinks in the cat's armour, weaknesses that can be used against him. He and his comrades then devise a plan for how to use those weaknesses--such absurd things as 'fur', 'mothers' and 'yoghurt'--to topple the mass-murdering mobster. [I can't tell if fur, mothers and yoghurt are the cat's weaknesses or the things Squeaky plans to use to exploit those weaknesses.] Now that he's got the plan, all he needs is to get close enough to Claw to unleash it. But there's an epic battle between good and evil, on the grounds of Claw's estate, standing in his way. [Not clear what that means. What's going on?]
Complete at 62,000 words, SQUEAKY MCLEAN AND MOUSE TAILS is a middle grade novel.
This sounds more like a job for Mighty Mouse or some other mouse superhero than for a mouse detective. Where does the detecting come in?
The first paragraph is a good setup. The second doesn't follow through with a clear summary of what happens. It should say something like: Gambling that Claw is addicted to catnip yoghurt, Squeaky brings a tanker truck of the substance to Claw's estate, hoping to cause the diabolical feline to OD. But getting to Claw won't be easy, not with the Dalai Lama and the Antichrist engaged in war on the front lawn.
Not clear why "and Mouse Tails" is part of the title. One expects that to be a play on "Tales," and that there'll be several stories, but this seems to be one story. Maybe it should be titled like Harry Potter's books: Squeaky McLean and the Cat from Hell, opening the way for a series.
62,000 words is obviously too long for kids younger than middle grade; on the other hand, I'm wondering if fifth graders would read 62,000 words about mouse versus cat. Maybe this should be a screenplay for an animated film.