Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Picture Books from the Past: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

A mouse can be a rather time-consuming houseguest!

While they may mean well, sweeping the house and washing the floors, mice get distracted quite easily. Laura Joffe Numeroff’s children’s classic describes a day’s events in the life of a boy and the mouse that came to visit. While the visit starts with the mouse’s simple request for a cookie, the boy quickly begins to see that even small favors can lead to a considerably exhausting day of running back and forth.

But, wouldn’t you do the same for an exuberant little mouse in overalls?

Since 1985, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie has been loved by readers of all ages (although the suggested ages are 4-8 years). While it doesn’t contain much of a lesson to teach children, parents (and anyone that has ever interacted with a child, really) are liable to relate to the generous young boy as he scrambles after the zealous mouse. The endearing characters of the boy and his fuzzy friend will keep children asking for this bedtime story for a long time. However, if you get tired of repeating the same story, not to worry! Laura Joffe Numeroff has written a dozen other books featuring the energetic mouse and other animals in her If You Give A series.

"Then he'll want to look in a mirror
to make sure he doesn't
have a milk mustache."

The text and illustrations of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie are wonderfully incorporated and make the story come to life. Felicia Bond’s interpretation of the narration through her pictures adds so much to the delightful story, it’s no wonder the book has been a favorite for over 25 years! The bright colors and amount of detail within the illustrations captures the attention of the readers and keeps them excited for each new page.

Also, the size of the mouse in comparison to the objects around him gives a wonderful change of perspective. When I first read this as a child, I loved how the mouse took a nap in a box for face powder and used the fluffy brush as a pillow, and I thought it was too funny that the crayons he drew with were bigger than his entire body. Felicia Bond’s animated drawing of the mouse and the boy breathe life and humor into a story that I hope will remain on bedside tables and bookshelves everywhere for years to come. In fact, when readers look at the pictures, they may get so excited that they want to draw one of their own (just as the mouse does)!

If you’re looking to find some resources for using If You Give a Mouse a Cookie in the classroom or just to have some fun at home, the official If You Give A series website has tons of fun activities and items that can put a fresh spin on a classic. Just click here!

Happy Reading!

-Jill Dona

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