Action, Camera! This Is A Moose by Richard T. Morris
THIS IS THE MIGHTY MOOSE [Take One]Clack goes the clapstick.
The elephant gaffer has the Kliegs lighting the star. The grip, a bored bear, holds the boom steady just out of camera range. The camera chimp is set to dolly in for the opening closeup. Director Waddler, a cliched quacker with a French beret, megaphone, and script board, has his concept firmly in mind--an award-winning wildlife documentary about to go before the cameras.
It seems that this thespian is having a problem getting into character as a mighty moose. He's wearing a space helmet and obviously sees his character in a different role. He wants to play an astronaut. Actually, he wants to BE an astronaut. And he's determined not to be typecast as your typical moose, wading in a lake and munching lily pads.
Everyone in the North Woods gets into the act. Grandma Moose paddles up in her red canoe and admits that she always wanted to be a player for a Division AAA lady lacrosse team:
"WHIP A SHOT IN! I'LL STIFF YOU, SONNY!"
From racket-wielding grannies to wannabe giraffe physicians, Director Waddle can't seem to get anyone in character for his documentary. Instead, the crew and extras get into the Moosetronaut's dream of going into space and fashion a workmanlike rubber band catapult and get their jerry-built red-canoe capsule set for launch. It's "MOON or BUST!"
Director Waddler, his webbed feet spread wide, grabs his megaphone and bellows at the cast and crew:
LISTEN TO ME! ALL ANIMALS ARE GOING TO PLAY THEIR PROPER ROLES FROM NOW ON.
Everyone silently takes in the ironic absurdity of that direction. The bear grip, the giraffe staff doctor, the elephant gaffer, the kangaroo with the clapper, the chimp behind the camera, all look at what they are doing and at each other.
Finally Director Waddler looks down at his feathers and webbed feet and realizes ... he's a mallard!
The director decides on a new, er, focus, for his film.
THE MOOSETRONAUT [Take One]
In Richard Morris' This Is a Moose (Little, Brown and Company, 2014), with faux cinematography by peerless artist Tom Lichtenheld, all the usual movie cliches are comically parodied, along with the premise that nature can be faked before the camera. Lichtenheld's illustrations, done meticulously in a tongue-in-cheek style and textured ink, colored pencil, and gouache pastiche, spoof all the tired movie tropes in a salute to the I-gotta-be ME main character who steals the show. Even kids who have no idea of the various roles in movie making will get the humor of this book (a glossary of movie terms is appended) and will chuckle at the back cover, a faux front-of-book showing Moose on the moon, craters and all, with the title This Is the Moosetronaut.
Booklist brags in its starred review, "A rambunctious and hilarious story of embracing the unexpected," and Kirkus adds their asterisk and concurs, "A humorous--make that hysterical---homage to movies and big dreams."