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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

This Is A Moose, written by Richard T. Morris and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Little Brown and Company, Hachette. 2014. $20.00 ages 5 and up

"The moose has been launched.

MOOSE drinking from lakes.
MOOSE eating leaves.

This is another of those of those books that begs for an audience to share it's just too funny! I will be sure to take it with me the next time I visit a classroom. I howled when I read it first, and then laughed again when I read it the next time. I know those kids who will love its irreverent humor, its precise and perfect timing, and the warm and hilarious illustrations that add to the droll humor of the telling.

Poor Moose! He has one goal in life. He wants to be a star! I mean, he literally wants to be a star - in space! The director is ready to begin filming an informative and simple documentary about the moose in its natural habitat...likely to be shown on the nature channel. That's what everyone on set thinks that they are doing. Well, not Moose - that is patently obvious when he shows up decked out in a space suit with the goal of space travel on his mind.

As they get set for action, who shows up? Why, it's Moose's grandmother! She is prepped and ready for a lacrosse game. The giraffe who also pops up is obviously on the wrong set. This is a forest adventure, not a safari! The director is fit to be tied.

When Grandma, the giraffe and others of Moose's friends use their wiles to launch him into space, the director must quickly change the gist of his planned story to make it fit the evolving events. The title This is a Moose quickly morphs to This is an Astronaut. The storytelling continues; the film is completed in a much less predictable way than first thought. We can only hope it opens to rave reviews and many encores.

There is so much fun in the text, and it is brilliantly matched by Tom Lichtenheld's humorous artwork done in ink, pencil and gouache. If you are a fan, you will be pleased that Mr. Lichtenheld meets your expectations all over again. He fills his pages with pure personality, giving his audience a sense of what filmmaking once entailed, the characters on and off screen whose dialogue and persistence will have them howling with laughter, the rural setting that is the moose's home, and the out-of-this-world place that can only be home to a star-struck dreamer.

Don't miss the Glossary of Filmmaking Terms!

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