This review is courtesy of Vicki, thanks girl! Learn more about Vicki below.
- TITLE: The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear
- WRITTEN BY: Don and Audrey Wood
- ILLUSTRATED BY: Don Wood
- PAGES: 32
- ISBN: 9780859531825
- Available on Amazon, here.
This book was given to me as a gift when I first started teaching. The first thing I noticed about it, were the unbelievable illustrations. The detailed artwork is beautiful, but also realistic and simple enough for very young kids to enjoy. The large pictures make it easy for young kids to focus on the simple story, and include items that are recognizable. My daughter loves to point out familiar items that she sees in the pictures. Since there are not many words on each page, the illustrations tell a lot of the story which makes it a great read to share with toddlers.
Super Speedy Summary
This simple story introduces kids to a little mouse who decides to pick a ripe strawberry from outside his house. The narrator warns him about the big hungry bear nearby who loves ripe strawberries. As the story progresses, the little mouse tries to come up with different ways to keep the strawberry from the bear. Finally, the narrator convinces the mouse that the best way to keep the strawberry from the bear is to split it with him.
This book is one of my daughter’s favorites, because it is a cute little story with a friendly little mouse. The short text and bright, colorful illustrations are entertaining to her. She can also follow along with what is happening, and recognizes familiar objects in the illustrations. The interesting part about this book, is that you never actually see the bear. Did a bear really exist, or was the narrator tricking the little mouse into sharing the strawberry? As your kids get older and reread the book, it can spark a great conversation with your kids about whether or not they think the narrator intentionally tricked the little mouse.
For younger readers, the lack of a bear provides an opportunity for kids to use their imagination. Aren’t some of the best suspenseful movies the ones where the bad guy is never actually seen? Teaching kids to use their imagination is such a fantastic lesson, and this book gives you an opportunity to encourage creativity. Ask your kids what they think about the bear and see where the conversation takes you.
I have heard many people over the years say that the narrator tricks the mouse, and therefore teaches kids that being deceitful is acceptable. I tend to see the best in people (even faceless narrators), but even if he is tricking the mouse, I think it is our job as parents reading to our kids, to explain why being deceitful isn’t acceptable. I think we all have to deal with deceitful people in our lives, and if this sweet story about a little mouse gives you the opportunity to discuss trickery and deceit with your kids in a lighter way, then I think it is a necessary addition to any bookshelf.
Plus, in case I haven’t mentioned it, the illustrations are amazing!
Author Bio: Vicki is a former teacher who blogs about reading and children’s books at Babies to Bookworms. She is a stay at home mom to her one year old daughter – a budding bookworm as well! Vicki aims to help parents, teachers and caregivers to get kids interested in reading and learning with fun activities and great books.
About the reviewer
Vicki is a former teacher who blogs about reading and children’s books at Babies to Bookworms. She is a stay at home mom to her one year old daughter – a budding bookworm as well! Vicki aims to help parents, teachers and caregivers to get kids interested in reading and learning with fun activities and great books.
I have to tell you, I love a good story that stretches the imagination. Children’s books that introduce a little unknown element often make great conversation starters, as Vicki mentioned. What makes this book a good choice for this is that it combines the characteristics of a “wordless / semi-wordless book” (like Good Dog Carl) with hidden characters. I also like what Vicki brought up about the fact that this narrator is somewhat deceitful. I think this relates to the idea of a book that goes against what you are trying to teach your child. In many ways, it may seem like this kind of book does not belong on your bookshelf. However, what it actually does is gives an opportunity to address the topic (a “what not to do moment”). Being careful to explain this is the key.
One thing that really intrigues me about this book is that it reminds of the “fourth wall” in acting. This wall is the one that separates the actor from the audience. Most of the time, the author is behind the wall and the audience is merely a spectator, there is no relationship between the two parties. However, in some of the most interesting shows or plays (I’m thinking something like the Office for example), the fourth wall is “broken” and the actor interacts with the audience. The narrator in this book seems to be doing a similar action. Breaking the barrier that typically separates the narrator from the characters in the story. I find that relationship to be another great conversation starter, about the story writer or teller and the characters within. This could be a good time to introduce your child to the character / narrator relationship (maybe even talking about perspectives in writing – first person, third person omniscient , etc.)
Of course, if we get right down to the most basic storyline, this book is also about sharing. If you assume the narrator is telling the truth, it’s a lesson about how sharing can lead to happiness for everyone.
Deceitfulness – Character / Narrator Relationship – Sharing
This was an interesting review that really had me thinking about adding it to our collection!
I’ve been a little quiet around here in terms of our own reviews – but for a good reason! There are a lot of really fun things happening behind the scenes for Addison Reads (including an in-person AND virtual intentional bookshelf workshop coming soon). If you want to be in the know and find out everything before anyone else, sign up for the list.
So what do you think – is there really a bear or was it all a lie?
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