Friday, November 17, 2017

Logophiles, UNITE! Mouseling's WORDS by Shutta Crum

Every evening I woke up surrounded by words. Aunt Tillie collected them from the Swashbuckler Restaurant, where words were SPECIALS OF THE DAY. Then she brought them to my family's nest--along with bits of food.

"Noodles," I said, puckering up my mouth, as I pulled a scrap if paper from the nest. Aunt Tillie had taught all of us mouselings to read.

It's a cozy nest beneath the restaurant, with tasty tidbits and new words to learn from the menu. Mouseling is happy to snuggle down with his word scraps with his family each night.

When one by one, his mouseling siblings begin to leave the nest to find adventure, Mouseling remains, happy with his family nest and his favorite words. But his parents have other ideas.

"You need to get a job," Father said. "You need to find your path in the world," Mother said, pointing to the passageway through the walls.

Then Aunt Tillie promises that there are many new words out there in the big world. Mouseling pulls out a word--if--out of his word pile. What if? He is intrigued. Then Aunt Tillie draws him a map, with a big X marking where home is, some of the new things he will see, and a scary critter labeled "The Beast!" A CAT! She says she put it there so he will know to beware out in the world.

At last Mouseling decides to venture out, with the map, through the passageway to outdoors. The first thing he sees on the outside is a word, blowing by in the wind. SING! Mouseling figures it out all on his own.

Then and there I decided that discovering words would be my job.

And Mouseling hits the jackpot. He wanders into a big brick building. It's nice and quiet, and there are rows of blocky things on shelves and signs with words in big letters:



But there is also something else in the quiet building. He recognizes it right away from Aunt Tillie's map. It's a cat! Mouseling knows he has to beware. But one day when he's tiptoeing past the napping cat with a new word, the cat wakes up and stares at him, twitching his tail.

Quickly I mashed that word into a ball and threw it at him. The cat pounced and batted it with his paw.

Maybe the library cat is not such a beast after all. And one night he jumps up on one of the shelves and knocks one of the blocky things out of its place. He swipes it open with his paw.

What was this? Words--so many, many words--words inside all these things?

Mouseling realizes that the cat wants to hear this story about a mouse and a lion, and the little pilgrim has found his path in the world after all, in Shutta Crum's new Mouseling's Words (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Clarion Books, 2017), a charming story about the power of words to charm any beast, or at least a bibliophilic cat, illustrated appealingly by Ryan O'Rouke, who sets up cozy scenes and humorously matches the words Mouseling finds to the action on the pages, fittingly adding illustrations from Aesop's fable of the Lion and the Mouse to the final pages as cat and mouse settle down to share the story together. A dandy story which hits the marks for preschool and primary picture books--homey, funny, sweet--and educational!

Share this one with Bonnie Becker's Mouse and Bear story, A Library Book for Bear.

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  • Thank you for the mention of my book, MOUSELING'S WORDS. I call it my auto-mouse-ography, as most writers are enamored of words from the very beginning, just like Mouseling is. Here's to more happy reading!! Shutta

    By Blogger Shutta, at 11:32 AM  

  • Congratulation on your book, "Mouseling's Words" - Shutta! Looking forward to reading it.

    By Blogger Virginia Rinkel, at 8:11 PM  

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