I have just read the much-recommended Ragweed, by Avi. It is one of the books of the Dimwood series and, for those who haven't read it, it goes something like this:
Ragweed is a mouse. He goes traveling and winds up in a city. Ragweed get chased by a cat named Silversides, bent on destroying mice. He escapes and joins other mice. They decide to fight back against cats (how typical of such books!) and start by making a club. When Silversides and her pal Graybar attack the clubhouse, the mice use a fire hose to fight back and (of course) win.
Naturally, that disturbs me. I think the author is being unnecessarily cruel, but that's just half of it: what the most horrible thing is, is the way people praise this book. "Oh what a brave little mousey, how cunningly he defeated those evil cats" - this seems to be 90% of all customer reviews (go to Amazon.com and see for yourself). This is not only sickening it's also dangerous. Just think, what level would humans degrade to if their role models were tiny rodents, whose brain is drunk with fear and who live in the knowledge that every next moment might end their brief existence in a short, high-pitched squeak. Please also note that it isn't only Avi who is spreading this propoganda. There are many other writers like this, for example the well-known Brian Jacques, the author of Redwall.
Thankfully cats as yet remain the most popular of pets but in a few years, who knows? The thing that's worrying me is why do so many authors choose rodents for their heroes and not cats? Oh, I'll grant you, we're selfish and cunning, proud of it, in fact, but on the other hand we're brave, smart, honorable, noble, charitable and just, in our own way. Conjure up a picture of a mouse. Can these qualities be attributed to it? Mice would think nothing of eating their own children and would certainly abandon them in the face of danger, whereas if you threaten a female cat with its children you would be lucky to leave with your eyes intact.
In the end it runs down to this: why are mice so great in the eyes of humans? Discuss it.