Thursday, April 23, 2009

Anger Management: Mouse Was Mad by Linda Urban

Mouse was mad. Hopping mad.

"You look ridiculous," said Hare. "Let me show you how to hop properly."

Everybody is an expert when mouse gets mad. Hare is the hopping expert, granted, but when Mouse tries anger management Hare-style, he manages only to hop, hop, hop, right into a mucky mud puddle, SPLISH! muddying his orange-striped overalls.

Now Mouse is really mad, stomping mad. But Bear is unimpressed with his petite foot stomping. "You call that stomping," he says, overbearingly, and demonstrates the way bears do it when they get angry. Sure, the trees shake and the earth rumbles when he stomps his foot, but Mouse's stomps are too puny to stir an ant hill. SPLUSH! Mouse flomps into another puddle. Now Mouse is really steaming and comes up screaming!

"That's hardly a scream at all," observes Bobcat. "When I scream, you can hear the echo through the woods." But Mouse's best scream echoes not at all, but he does manage a fall--you guessed it--into another puddle.

Now Mouse was really, really, really mad--rolling-around-on-the-ground mad. "Pull your feet in." said Hedgehog. "The best roll is achieved when the body is a perfect sphere."

But Mouse's best tuck just lands him in the muck--Sploosh!--again.

Now Mouse is really, really, really, really MAD, so mad that he stands there motionless and silently. "Impressive," says Hare. "Inspiring," says Bear. "Let me try that," says Hare. But no one can match Mouse's awesome immobility.

"I feel better now," said Mouse.

"You look better," said Bear.

"But you need a bath," said Hedgehog.

Linda Urban's newest, Mouse Was Mad, is a slight but funny fable dealing with the fine points of safely venting anger. Wry and engaging, the text is set off beautifully by Henry Cole's illustrations, which catch the individual personalities of the would-be behavior management technique specialists Hare, Bear, Bobcat, and Hedgehog. For another solid example of Cole's illustrative skills, see Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC.



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