If You Give a Moose a Muffin

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by Laura Joffe Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond. (HarperCollins, 1991 ISBN 0-06-024405-4. Order Info.). Picture book. 32 pages. Grades Pre-K+.
This review by Carol Otis Hurst first appeared in Teaching K-8 Magazine.
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If You Give a Moose cover

Review

If you liked If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (Scholastic, 1988 ISBN 0064434095. Order Info.), you'll like If You Give a Moose a Muffin by the same team. In each book, a simple, kindly action on the part of the little boy leads to a whole series of demands on the part of the recipient. As you can tell, the guest is a moose this time who wanders in, ready for a muffin with homemade blackberry jam. As with "Mouse," this story ends where it begins with another demand for a muffin with jam.

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Things to Notice and Talk About

cover art
  • Speaking of beginnings, look at the beginning of this one. The moose is chewing whatever in the woods, smells the cooking and the boy tosses him a muffin from the window. Does this boy often offer muffins to passing strange moose? cookies to strange mice? What else has he been handing out? What will he do for the next book?

  • Help the children notice the cover of the book with the picture that goes across the whole thing. Follow the moose's tracks to see where he's been. Do the tracks on the kitchen floor remind you of Pat Hutchins' The Doorbell Rang (Morrow, 1989 ISBN 0-688-05252-5. Order Info.)?

  • What time of year is it in If You Give a Moose a Muffin? Blackberries ripen in the summer don't they? But the mother is raking leaves. Could it be fall? summer? And let's take another look at that mother. Does she know what's going on? Is she like Chester in Nothing Ever Happens on My Block by Ellen Raskin (Macmillan, 1989 ISBN 0-689-71335-5. Order Info.)?

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Activities

  • You'll want to make the jam, the muffins and the puppets from the book. One of the puppets should remind them of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

  • Using pizza cardboard or any circle shapes, children can draw the action of the circle stories around the edges of the circle so that there is neither beginning nor end.

  • Researchers can find out the size of a real moose and then the class can measure the classroom door. Could a moose get in? Could it somehow retract its antlers or fold them up? How would it look coming through? This may be a place for pictures.

  • What would a moose sound like when he asks for the various things the boy gets? Have a moose talk session in which children try out various moose voices.

  • What do real moose eat? What could fictional ones eat besides Thidwick's moose moss and mooseberry jam? What is the plural of moose and what are some other words with similar plurals?

  • How about creating some moose-type songs such as "Come Away Lucille, In My Merry Moosemobile," and "You're a Grand Old Moose."

  • Getting back to our original choice for this month, what if the boy returns the favor and visits the moose's house? What would the house look like? What various accommodations would it have for his antlers and size? What could the boy ask the moose for? Are you ready to make your own book?

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Related Books

  • Various parts of If You Give a Moose... remind us of other books. The mess created by the uninvited guest is similar to that made by another one, The Cat in the Hat (Order Info.). Brainstorm for other books with uninvited guests. We came up with The Three Bears, The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse by Beatrice Potter(Warne, 1910 ISBN 0-0-7232-3495-7. Order Info.) David Cleveland's The April Rabbits (Scholastic, 1988 ISBN 0-590-41288-4. Order Info.), Susan O'Keefe's One Hungry Monster (Little, 1989 ISBN 0-316-63385-2. Order Info.) and Arthur Yorinks' Company's Coming (Crown, 1988 ISBN 0-517-56751-2. Order Info.) Children can chart these books along lines like:

     __________________________________________________________________________________ 
    |              |           |          |          |         |         |             |
    | Name of Guest|   Reason  |    1st   |   2nd    |   1st   |   2nd   |   Reason    |
    |              |for arrival|Good Thing|Good Thing|Bad Thing|Bad Thing|for Departure|
    |______________|___________|__________|__________|_________|_________|_____________|
    |              |           |          |          |         |         |             |
    |              |           |          |          |         |         |             |
    |______________|___________|__________|__________|_________|_________|_____________|
    
    
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  • Children can find and bring to school newspaper and magazine accounts of moose. (They seem to be encroaching more and more on civilization. Or is it the other way round?) Brainstorm for a list of other famous mooses. We came up with this list: Bullwinkle, Thidwick, the one that fell in love with Jessica the cow in Vermont a few years ago, and the moose in Annie and the Wild Animals by Jan Brett (Houghton, 1990 ISBN 0-395-37800-1. Order Info.), Going the Moose Way Home by Jim Latimer (Scribners, 1988 ISBN 0-684-18890-2. Order Info.) and In a Cabin in a Wood by Darcie McNally (Dutton, 1991 ISBN 0-525-65035-0. Order Info.) Each moose character has a distinctive personality and children might try finding ways to describe him. Also which moose would you bring home?

  • These are cause and effect books as each demand or request is caused by the previous one. Other books with strong cause and effect themes are: Why the Chicken Crossed the Road by David Macaulay (Houghton, 1987 ISBN 0-395-44241-9. Order Info.), Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing by Judi Barrett (Macmillan, 1988 ISBN 0-689-70807-6. Order Info.) and Animals Should Definitely Not Act Like People also by Judi Barrett (Macmillan, 1983 ISBN 0-689-71033-X. Order Info.)

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