Title: Rules of Rodentia
Genre: MG Fantasy
Word Count: 37,000
It’s no mistake Tobin won top seed-finder for junior mice two seasons in a row. After all, he knows the Rules of Rodentia like the back of his paw. So when an explosive thunderstorm damages the Great Burrow and exposes his friends and family, Tobin’s routine forest life crumbles like last autumn's leaves. As if the destruction wasn't bad enough, his home has also been invaded.
Tobin watches in horror as a giant spider scuttles into the woods with a newborn pinkling in tow— his very own baby brother. Tobin turns to his best friend Wiley and little sister Talia. They agree if the pinkling’s to have any chance of survival, they must follow the spider, even though the Rules clearly state to run away from predators, not chase them.
Tobin ventures into a world of dangerous terrain and crafty creatures, discovering he’s hardly the only animal with a grudge against this nasty breed of spider. He finds himself in a race to save his newborn brother before a battle for woodland supremacy befalls the spider stronghold. But once Tobin sees the horrors lurking inside the spider lair, saving one pinkling will only be the beginning. Sometimes a mouse just has to break the Rules.
I’ve been an active member of the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators since 2009 and I’m a member of the SCBWI Osceola County Critique Group.
Crouched in stillness beneath a toadstool, Tobin recalled his training. He knew the Rules of Rodentia like the back of his paw. It was no accident he was Top Seed-finder for Junior Mice two seasons in a row. Traveling this familiar patch of forest was simple as scratching a flea — as long as he stuck to the Rules.
Tobin concentrated on the final leg of his journey. The Great Burrow loomed just ahead. Shaped like a giant tortoise shell, the Great Burrow possessed dozens of hidden entrances. It was very important to use different paths and entrances back inside.
Rule #7- A predictable path provides easy pickings for a predator.
Tobin spied a route he hadn’t taken in a while. His mind ticked through the age-old checklist taught to all young mice, the second-most important Rule in all of Rodentia:
Rule #2- Always survey your surroundings before setting a paw in the open.
Scan for hawks.
Done. Clear skies.
Scan for ground predators.
No trembling grass. The smells in the air are safe; clover and honeysuckle.
Finally, the muscles in his hind legs twitched.
Tobin burst from beneath the toadstool, darting a zig, then zag— enough to throw off a pouncing bobcat or swooping bird. With a giant leap he dived inside the safe confines of the Great Burrow. He blinked, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the dark tunnels. Only then did he tread home on slow paws. Nothing but chaos waited at his family’s den.