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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mouse Was MAD, written by Linda Urban and illustrated by Henry Cole. Harcourt, Thomas Allen & Son, 2009. $21.95 ages 3 and up

"Stomping, done right, should result in the shaking of trees and the rumbling of earth," said Bear. Bear stomped. The trees shook, the earth rumbled. Mouse tried to stomp like Bear. The trees did not shake. The earth did not rumble."

Mouse is mad and he doesn't mind telling everyone he meets! He tries a variety of ways to show that anger but his friends are quick to tell him that he is not very good at it. Hare says he can't be hopping mad because he isn't very good at hopping, Bear says he can't be stomping mad because he really doesn't have much stomp in him. You get the picture! There is much to learn as we take a closer look at the way the illustrator adds to the story with subtle changes in color, expressive faces and
the way that he uses endpapers to help to tell the story. Mouse is amazed at the result following his many attempts to show how truly mad he is, in the face of criticism and unsatisfactory forays into expressing his feelings.

I was working with some wonderful children today in an after school program and used this witty and predictable book as an introduction to talk about being mad and handling it. We wanted to encourage storying so that they might follow through with writing a journal story of their own when we had finished talking about it. We discovered, as Mouse did, that there are many ways to handle anger...some help us feel better and some only make us madder. When we throw something or break it, the end result might be that we have to wait for a period of time before it can be replaced, when we threaten and retreat we discourage what is bugging us, and when we find a quiet place to be, we often can relax and forget that anger.

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