To help other parents apply this advice, as a parent of four I consulted an expert, our youngest child, and asked her to share with me her favorite books that were read to her as a young child. If You Give a Moose a Muffin was one of her picks.
This humorous book has to be one of the most imaginative ever written and illustrated!
The premise starts with a child spotting a moose out the window in the back yard. The child beckons to the moose, gives the moose a muffin, opens the kitchen door, and lets the moose in. Holding the muffin in his teeth, the moose obviously seems to need some jam. The child opens the refrigerator and gets out the mother's homemade blackberry jam. The moose quickly starts eating the muffin, now that it has jam on it. Then another, and another . . . and another until they are all gone. He seems to want you to make some more.
One thing connects to another, and before the book ends the moose will get a sweater, make puppets, create the scenery, put on a puppet show, make a mess, clean up the mess, want some more jam, and still wants some more muffins.
The book works at several levels. First, the idea is simply to be a good hostess or host. That's something that all children need to learn. You should try to please your guest. Even if it is a moose!
Second, there is also an analogy to being a parent, helping a child. So your child can begin to see what it's like to be the caregiver.
Third, how do you accomplish things? Some you buy, some you make, and almost all have consequences. The book helps your child learn to connect the dots.
Fourth, the child and the moose make a terrible mess. No one gets excited, but they do take responsibility to clean up after themselves. Amen!
Fifth, one thing does lead to another. It is easy to get distracted. The circularity of the story helps your child remember what the purpose originally was, and not to get sidetracked.
Sixth, the book introduces ideas of activities you can do with your child. In fact, it's all right to put the book down and start doing those activities . . . or pick a time to do so.
All in all, you get a lot for your time and money.
The illustrations are wonderful in making the moose very human and humorous. The figures are vivid and clear, and are filled with warm, rich colors.
You can take the concept of the book and make up your own stories with your child. Then you could draw illustrations together and do the activities that you pick for the story. You could start with your child's favorite animal and food. If you give your dolphin a cookie, etc. In that way you can stimulate even more bonding and creativity. Have a ball!
Be sure to overcome your stalled thinking that only authors can come up with great stories that you'll both love. I'll bet your child and you can do a wonderful job!
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