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Saturday, November 24, 2012

This Moose Belongs to Me, written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. Harper Collins, 2012. $19.99 ages 4 and up

"Embarrassed and enraged, Wilfred rushed off for home. But in his haste, and miles from anywhere, he tripped over his string and got tangled up. And there he lay. Wilfred was beginning to get a little bit worried. It was past his home time now, and the monsters would be out soon. He had just ruled out the last of his options..."

It's Moose to the rescue! In this little charmer of a tale from the talented Oliver Jeffers, Wilfred makes friends with a moose he names Marcel. Mistakenly, he considers Marcel his pet and establishes a set of rules that all good pets should follow.

Certain to get young listeners thinking about rules they might establish for their new pet, it may even allow for discussion concerning any expectations of animals in the wild. While Marcel isn't in any way belligerent toward his enamored new owner, he isn't particularly great at listening to what is expected of him:

"Sometimes the moose wasn't a very good pet. He generally ignored Rule 7: going whichever way Wilfred wants to go."

At other times, he was quite the catch:

"Sometimes the moose was an excellent pet. He had no trouble with Rule 11: Providing shelter from the RAIN."

And so it goes. They share adventure and long walks. It is on one of these walks that Wilfred becomes quite concerned about his status with Marcel. It seems that someone else recognizes the moose and acts as if he belongs to her. To make matters worse, Rodrigo (aka Marcel) repsonds gleefully to her presence and totally ignores his new friend.

That sets the stage for a predicament that can only be solved by the moose. As one would hope, he displays his loyalty to the young and impressionable boy. Wilfred is contrite and willing to admit that perhaps Marcel is his own being and belongs only to himself.

That admission leads to a funny conclusion, and a surprise ending. Who has the apples?

Using a mix of media, Oliver Jeffers provides a perfect backdrop for his characters. The mountains are high, the vistas wide as Marcel and Wilfred spend their time together. Specch bubbles add funny bits. Full of nonsense, the illustrations are sure to appeal to the intended audience and have them returning for yet another look.

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