At the Rocky Mountain SCBWI conference, Sylvie Frank, editor at Holiday House, read us a charming book. I knew when she read it that it needed to be on the Perfect Picture Book list. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought this would be a good day to review a book that would be a fun read for families on Thanksgiving Day.
Written by Judy Cox
Illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
Holiday House 2008
Themes: Holidays, Thanksgiving
Synopsis: (from Kirkus) Mouse creeps out on Thanksgiving Day as the human family enjoys its post-prandial nap. He spots a pea on the uncleared table, and then a cranberry, then an olive, then a carrot stick…Thinking to himself, “One is a feast for me,” he soon amasses one of everything, until a tower of food teeters on its base of one pea. Ebbeler’s full-bleed, double-page spreads make the most of the humor made available by situation and scale—spot the bespectacled mouse dwarfed by his pile as he marches past Pilgrim salt-and-pepper shakers just his size. Greed goeth before a fall, however, in a slapstick climax children will relish.
Opening: After Thanksgiving dinner Mouse crept out of his hidey-hole and looked around. The house was quiet. Dad snoozed in his chair with his book. Mom dozed in front of the TV. Outside, the kids played football in the crisp yellow leaves. Cat curled up by the fire. He yawned and stretched his stripy tail. Then he closed his greeny eyes and went to sleep. Mouse scampered up the tablecloth. Thanksgiving leftovers were still on the table. So much to eat! Mouse saw a teensy-tiny, toothsome, green pea all by itself under a plate. Give thanks, he thought. One will be a feast for me.
View the adorable book trailer.
Resources: Resources on Holiday House website include activities for Language Arts and for Mathematics. Draw your favorite food activity on pages 24-25 of this activity guide. HERE is a link to some Thanksgiving activities.
Why I Like This Book: As I said, this book is charming. It is a humorous tale, with plenty of action, where readers will recognize Mouse’s temptation to be greedy and, in the end, his thankfulness for the little things. Judy Cox’s uses words that beg to be repeated such as “catter-whumpus,” toothsome, greeny, and stripy. Although I was too far away to see the illustrations when Sylvie read to us at the conference, I was completely engaged. After picking up a copy at my library, I was even more taken by the text when merged with the artwork. The illustrations by Jeffrey Ebbeler (who, also, illustrated some of our own Susanna Leonard Hill’s books) are from Mouse’s perspective. The colors are warm and inviting making for a Thanksgiving mood as you are reading.
Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, or just looking for a great book to read. Here is a list of books by category. Each book listed has a link to a review, information about that book, and resources for activities. There is also an alphabetical list.