This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers
Wilfred’s moose arrived a while ago and Wilfred just knew that the moose was meant to be his. He called the moose, Marcel. Wilfred had some serious rules if Marcel was going to be his pet, but Marcel didn’t seem interested in following them. Some though, Marcel was very good at. He did not make noise while Wilfred was listening to his music. He provided Wilfred shelter from the rain and he knocked high things down so that Wilfred could reach them. Then there were the rules that Marcel didn’t follow. He didn’t stay near home and soon Wilfred had learned to carry string along with them so they could find their way back home after long jaunts. It was on one of those long walks that Wilfred discovered that there was someone else who thought that THEY owned the moose!
Jeffers once again captures a concept with solidity and grace. He manages to take the idea of owning an animal and get readers to ask themselves about what ownership really means. The character of Wilfred has to do some adapting of his own, quickly changing his own rules and beliefs to be more moderate and open-ended. It also helped to share food.
The art here combines grand backdrops of mountains and plains with one small round-headed boy and a moose, dragging bright blue string behind. It’s a wonderful juxtaposition that will have readers understanding immediately that this moose is certainly not a pet that belongs to anyone.
Another delight from Jeffers, this book is about wilderness, the wild, and owning a pet. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from library copy.
Z Is for Moose by Kelly Bingham, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
If you are looking for an alphabet book with more than a bit of nonsense, this is the one for you! I happen to be a huge fan of alphabet books that play around, add humor and have plenty of twists. If you are looking for a straight-forward ABC book, the title alone should be enough to have you looking elsewhere. For those of you as silly as I am, continue on! Zebra is in charge of the ABCs happening in the right order on stage. Unfortunately, Moose doesn’t want to wait his turn. He enters on D, knocking Duck away, messes up Elephant’s entrance too, gets his head in the way for Hat, pops out of the pocket for Kangaroo, and continues to be silly for Lollipop too. But the insult truly comes when they decide to go with M is for… Mouse. Now Moose is upset and rampages through P and Q, drawing scribbles on R and S. Zebra tries to stop him, but ends up messing things up himself until the happy ending at Z.
Bingham’s writing is filled with asides from the different animals. The book is extremely funny, the pacing is brilliant, and the twists are unexpected. There is a great tension built up as the letter M approaches, and then with the twist, it is pure genius.
Zelinsky’s illustrations add to the mad gaiety of the book. Moose is obnoxious but also charming, his emotions clear on his face. The reaction of Moose as M passes him by is delightful, the rampage of destruction is great fun, and his scribbling is clever.
It is clear that this is a book that was pure fun to create, since that is apparent on every page. Impossible to read without laughing and grinning, this is an alphabet book that is sure to delight. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from library copy.
A House in the Woods by Inga Moore
One pig had built a den for herself in the woods with another pig next door in a hut. The two pigs went exploring in the woods and when they returned home, they found a bear and a moose in their homes. Unfortunately, the spaces were not made for such large animals and both the den and the hut collapsed! So the four animals talk about what they could do and decide to build a home where they all could live. They had no idea where to start, so they called in the Beavers who only asked to be paid in peanut-butter sandwiches. Everyone worked together to build a marvelous house and then worked together to get the sandwiches made for the Beavers. In the end, they had a cozy warm home just right for the four friends together.
This book is so warm and cozy with an old-fashioned feel. The story embraces a spirit of friendship and cooperation without ever being didactic about it. Instead the lessons are woven directly into the story and shown, never told. The tone of the tale is gentle and cheerful with small touches throughout that bring the story to life. Here is the paragraph when the four friends are finally asleep in their own home:
Soon the only sounds to be heard were the soft cheeps of sleepy birds roosting in the rafters, the tiny rustling of wood mice in the fallen leaves outside, and, just now and then, the gentle snoring of Bear.
Moore’s art has the same warm, old-fashioned feel as the story. The animals are individuals with interesting personalities, who each contribute differently to the project. Through the entire work is a feel of nature and home.
This charming book is a joy to read aloud and will delight listeners. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from library copy.
Also reviewed by:
Ernest, the Moose Who Doesn’t Fit by Catherine Rayner
Ernest has a problem, he doesn’t fit into the book! He tries to shuffle in forward, but that doesn’t work. He tries to squeeze in backward. Nope. He can get his middle to fit, but not his legs or head. Luckily, Ernest has a small friend with a big idea. It’s just going to take some tape and some paper. They work for a long time until… Well, you will just have to read it to find out how they manage to fit Ernest into his book. Children will respond to the visual puzzle of how to get Ernest to fit into the book. The final unveiling is definitely worth the suspense and build up.
Rayner has created a very simple book that is filled with a gentle humor. The process of problem solving is played out here, from the issue itself through trial and error, and finally the brilliant solution! It is a book that also demonstrations creativity and perseverance. Rayner’s illustrations are charming mix of media with paint, crayon and paper arts. The background to the illustrations is graph paper giving a great mathematical and structural feel to the whimsical art. It is a dynamic pairing.
A great book to share with a group, this book will have everyone cheering Ernest and his friend and their solution to how to fit a big moose in a small book. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Reviewed from copy received from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.