Top positive review
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The Mouse Asks, the Boy Gives, and the Chase Is On!
on 17 August 2004
Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond have teamed up on several children's stories. Many people will tell you that this is their favorite in the series. I slightly prefer When You Give a Moose a Muffin, but you'll have to decide for yourself by reading them both.
Having had two sons, I always found them most delightful when they were the most physically worn out. Oh, if only I had had this mouse to keep them occupied!
The boy is sitting in his front yard eating a cookie. He spies a mouse, and gives the mouse a little bite.
This is a forward mouse, though, and he asks if he might have a glass of milk to go with the cookie. The boy takes him inside and obliges. Then the mouse inquires about having a straw. The boy finds him one. Then the mouse requests a napkin. That means that he is concerned about having a milk mustache. So the mouse wants a mirror to check. While looking in the mirror, he notices that his whiskers need some trimming. He requests some nail scissors from the boy. Considerately, he then wants a broom to sweep up. But if you're going to sweep in one area, you might as well do many. While you're at it, the floors could use a good washing. That makes the mouse tired, so he needs a nap. The boy makes him a little bed out of a box and a tiny blanket and pillow. But the mouse cannot sleep without a story. Seeing the pictures, the mouse thinks what fun it would be to make some pictures. Paper and crayons must be obtained! After the picture is done, he must naturally have a pen to sign his name. Then, the boy has to get some Scotch tape so that the picture can go on the refrigerator. Then, of course, you get thirsty from all that activity. You get some milk from the refrigerator . . . and of course, it's a good idea to have a cookie. And off we go again!!
The contrast between the increasingly exhausted looking boy, and the sprightly mouse make for much good humor. Also, the boy is better at getting things for the mouse than putting them away, so the house is soon filled with messy piles of what the mouse wanted . . . sort of mouse droppings as it were.
The absurdity of a tiny mouse running a boy ragged is quite hilarious to youngsters. By reading the book faster and faster, you can add a note of semi-hysteria that increases the fun.
The words are easy to follow, and closely track the illustrations. Children can easily begin to memorize the story, decode the words, fill in the blanks, and later begin to read aloud to you (first from memory, and later in reality).
The book is beautifully illustrated in a semi-Dr. Seuss style by Felicia Bond that adds much to the enjoyment.
One thing I like about the story is that it gets into how one thing can lead to another. That's one of the best ways to stimulate intelligence and imaginative thinking. It is also good for problem solving later in life. Now, where did all these mouse whisker shavings come from? What caused them?
After you have had fun with this story as written, you might want to have a little more fun with your child or grandchild and occasionally change one of the words. For example, when the mouse wants a napkin, you might substitute "diaper" for a young child. I guarantee gales of laughter with that one!
Have fun from beginning to end, and through the repeating refrain, for ever and ever!