Saturday, November 14, 2009

REVIEW: Mouse Was Mad

Urban, L.  (2009).  Mouse Was Mad.  New York:  Harcourt Children's Books.


PLOT SUMMARY:  Mouse is mad and keeps trying to express his anger by hopping, stomping, etc, but other animals manage to do all those activities better than him, making Mouse even more angry.

Mouse Was Mad is an excellent book to share aloud with the many all children prone to throwing tantrums in the check-out line of my local grocery store, causing me to have to switch to a longer line, that yet somehow allowed me to run away from the screaming child much faster than staying in the original line would have allowed.  (Side note:  I swear the child wasn't mine.  When I run away from enraged children that I know, I throw a blanket over their heads first.  So they can't know which direction I'm going.)

The illustrations have a classic feel and mouse (even with his angry face) is very cute.  But I didn't feel like this was the right artwork for the story.  Based on the cover, I was expecting something more modern and stylized.  I don't quite know where this expectation came from.  Maybe it's because the cover is such a pukey shade of green (although, online pictures of it have a slightly more mustard yellow tint.  I hates you, internets, for betraying me.).  The more standard colored illustrations aren't what I'd expect from a puke green cover and bright pumpkin orange end papers.  Am I alone in this?  Anyone? (Side note:  Internets!  I don't really hates you!  Don't turn your vengeful eye toward me!  I probably would not survive.)


Mouse Was Mad is a great book to share with toddlers and other young readers who are prone to tantrums (no not teenagers!  Well, not many teenagers....)  It encourages them to be still and wait for the anger to fade, instead of rampaging, which often makes things worse.

Since there are some repetitive words, with Mouse falling into a puddle after each tantrum, a teacher can encourage young readers to say those parts aloud.

The picturebook doesn't address using words to express anger though.  A teacher will probably have to pick up that dropped ball in an after-reading conversation.

A teacher could also focus on the animals Mouse has conversations with.  The fact that the rabbit hops, the bear stomps, etc.  This becomes a great lead into discussing the behaviors of the animals, then allowing the children to spend a few minutes stomping, hopping, rolling around like the animals.  Without intentionally running into or tripping one another, of course.  Because that's a no-no.


"Mouse was mad.  Hopping mad."

"Mouse tried to stomp like Bear.
The trees did not shake.
The earth did not rumble.
Mouse stomp-stomp-flomped-Splush!--into another mucky mud puddle.

"Now Mouse was really, really, really, really mad.
Standing-still mad.
Mouse did not hop.  He did not stomp.
He did not scream or roll on the ground.
He stood very, very still.
"Impressive," said Hare.
"What control," said Bear.


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