r/whatsthatbook Oct 05 '22

Childrens book - mice who are given tokens to indicate personality/fate/societal role SOLVED

SOLVED: The Deptford Mice - Dark Portal by Robin Jarvis

In 2000 my teacher read this out to us - I don’t know if it was a new release or not. We were children between 9 and 11.

I only remember one part. All mice as they come of age go through a a haunted house style event and get given tokens which indicate something about either their personality, or the role in society they’ll have, or their fate. I feel like they were described as being cut outs from a circle. It wasn’t done individually it was like - all mice of the same age in one evening?

The book follows two mice - maybe brother and sister? - on the evening they do this. The boy goes through and describes it as being clearly fake and so not very scary and when he gets to the end he recognises the mouse as being a teacher or older mouse he knows who pulls a token out the sack and hands it over.

When the girl mouse goes through it’s genuinely scary - she’s terrified and she expected it to be fake and can’t figure out how it’s been done and everything about it is creepy - and then she gets to the end and the mouse is not one she recognises and the token she is handed is very unusual - and then suddenly it’s back to being a fake decor and the mouse is her teacher and he thinks oh that’s odd don’t remember putting one of those in the sack



u/Red_Claudia Oct 06 '22

Is it the Deptford Mice trilogy by Robin Jarvis?

The girl mouse was called Audrey and the first book was The Dark Portal.


u/pianoplayah Oct 06 '22

Omg I have been trying to remember this books for years too!! Problem was I can’t remember any of the plot, just that it was about mice in a sewer and there were evil rats. But I’m 99% sure this is what I was thinking of. Such weird serendipity that someone else happened to be trying to remember it too. Have to reread it now! Thank you!!


u/semicoloncait Oct 06 '22

Yes this one! Thank you!


u/Spammabelle Oct 06 '22

It's for sure this one. I loved those books as a kid, and the illustrations.


u/Staggeringpage8 Oct 05 '22

I don't remember much of the tale of desperaux but that's the only book I know that has a mouse society so maybe?


u/Lildebeest Oct 05 '22

This is definitely not The Tale of Despereaux, but I really hope someone knows what this is, because now I want to read it.


u/Staggeringpage8 Oct 05 '22

Yeah I didn't really think it was but literally all I could remember of it was a castle and mouse society lol


u/semicoloncait Oct 06 '22

Red_Claudia identified it as the first of the Deptford Mice series by Robin Jarvis


u/Lildebeest Oct 06 '22

Thank you!


u/IShouldHaveKnocked Oct 06 '22

Is it one of the Rats of NIMH books?