Make no mistake, HuskyGirl is the animal lover in our household. She is passionate, and compassionate, for any living thing – a quality that I encourage wholeheartedly (even when I get yelled at for moving the stone markers in the “slug cemetery”). But last week, when we went to the pet supply store to pick out a harness for our foster dog, I mistakenly allotted enough time for us to visit the animal residents. And HuskyGirl fell in love. With the little white mice.
Let me step back a moment and clarify my standing on pets. I love having a dog and appreciate that now my girls are older they are learning some caregiving responsibility. That is where my relationship with anything else living in our house ends. I had several traumatic attempts to own fish in college. Nope, not tropical or exotic- just goldfish and betafish. They usually lasted 2-3 days and then I’d find them floating, and cry, and call my boyfriend to come over and dispose of them for me as I couldn’t bear it. After the third time he did this I decided I should marry him. Which I did for many reasons, but this was one of the his top selling points. I also don’t do plants. I compulsively buy cut flowers as I simply can’t keep anything green alive. Yep, I’ve even killed bamboo.
Regardless of my ability, or rather inability, to keep another creature alive I also will not have anything my house that eats live food, that I also have to keep alive. That rules out lizards – I am not making a salad for the crickets, just to feed them to the bearded dragon. In addition, I refuse to have anything that requires frozen food that was once alive – knocking snakes off the list. Ferrets? Too smelly. Turtles? Unless someone is digging a pond in our backyard that isn’t happening. Nope on nocturnal animals either – we tried that with hermit crabs (may they rest in peace) and found that nocturnal pets are A)boring because they sleep when we are awake and B)annoying because they make noise at night. This is how the previously mentioned hermit crabs wound up in my dining room. I was less than thrilled.
And so we come to the little white mice. I’ve said “No”. My husband has said “No”. Still she persists. HuskyGirl has taken to joining me when we walk the dog, only to talk about how much she wants mice the entire time. She’s offered to pay for them. She’ll keep them in her own room. She wants to visit them at least once a week. Talk about committed! However, I am holding firm. Mice are one of those animals that people try to get rid of from their home, not intentionally bring into it! At this point I just can’t see it happening. For one thing summer is almost upon us and we do have a couple trips planned. You can board a dog, or have a neighbor feed your cat. The fish get week-long dissolving pellets. Who is going to take our mice? So right now we are doing our best to ignore her pleading requests. Don’t worry, I won’t be offended if you take bets against me.
What is it about mice that fascinate young readers? When mice are anthropomorphized they become these remarkable creatures that live life in secret. They are mysterious, mischievous and quite marvelous. Although we haven’t traveled this week, check out books where the adventures are far and wide and the mice do the traveling!
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (If You Give…) by Laura Joffe Numeroff – The original that started the whole series! This book is just plain fun! If you give a mouse a cookie what will happen next? It all leads back to the cookie in the end, after an exhausting afternoon of adventure. Check out the rest of the Mouse stories: If You Take a Mouse to School, The Best Mouse Cookie (If You Give…), and If You Take a Mouse to the Movies. Or you could branch out and Give A Pig A Pancake, Dog a Donut or Moose a Muffin! Then take time to bake the delicious treat that started the story off, and create your own story. If You Give A Kid A…..PB
Angelina Ballerina 25th Anniversary Edition by Katherine Holabird – Angelina is a darling little mouse who wants to dance! And do nothing else. Her parents are fed up with her constant dancing, and finally decide to help channel this passion by sending her to ballet school. Will her love of ballet and determination pay off? PB
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes – Lilly loves school and just adores her teacher, Mr. Slinger. When Lilly wants to show the class her new purple plastic purse she and her teacher don’t see eye to eye. Lilly learns a hard, but important lesson, about following rules, kindness and forgiveness. PB
Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse: (Caldecott Honor Book) by Leo Lionni – This classic tells the story of a real mouse, Alexander, who befriends a toy mouse, Willy. Alexander wants to be just like Willy so he searches for the magic pebble to give the garden lizard who will grant his wish at the full moon. But Willy has found himself in the discard box of old toys! Will Alexander still wish to be a toy, or will he wish for something else? PB
Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh – The three mice are trying to escape the cat! Luckily they find white paper to hide in, but soon they begin playing in the paint and make some wonderful discoveries! This is a perfect introduction to color mixing. When your are done reading make sure you get out the finger-paint and try mixing up some colorful fun. Also check out Mouse Count and Mouse Shapes for more stories of how the mice avoid capture! PB
Mouse Tales (I Can Read Book 2) by Arnold Lobel – A father mouse has seven little mice who all want a story at bedtime. So he tells a story for each mouse! This book is the classic collection of the seven stories and is perfect for beginning readers. Check out more of Arnold Lobel’s mouse stories in Mouse Soup. ER-1
Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye (Geronimo Stilton, No. 1)– Geronimo Stilton is the editor of the newspaper The Rodent’s Gazette and always searching for the next scoop! This series is eye-catching for readers trying to tackle more in-depth chapter books, as the type changes color & font to emphasize certain phrases. Geronimo lives in a world of mice and there are many mouse-centered word changes and cheese puns to keep you in the rodent mood. There is an adventure for every area of interest. Many of these books contain cool information within the text that provide a great knowledge base while keeping readers interested. There are several spin-off series to keep readers turning the pages! ER-3
Thea Stilton #1: The Secret of Whale Island – Geronimo’s sister has been teaching journalism at Mouseford Academy where she’s become a mentor to five mouseling friends. Nicky, Colette, Pamela, Paulina and Violet travel the world and work together to solve mysteries. The Thea Sisters, as they call themselves, find out cool information about the locations they visit and check in to see if you are following the clues along with them. Fantastic information presented in the same style as the Geronimo Stilton books. For more on Thea Stilton check out Amazon’s Thea Stilton Page ER-3
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary – When Ralph discovers a toy motorcycle under the bed in the hotel room he can’t help himself and just has to try it. Unexpected adventure awaits, but there is also danger, as Ralph get himself into some sticky situations. A classic tale that is a perfect read-aloud. Keep the adventure going with follow-up books Runaway Ralph and Ralph S. Mouse. MR/RA
Tumtum & Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall by Emily Bearn – Tumtum and Nutmeg live a quiet life in Rose Cottage, looking after the human children that live there. However, things aren’t going to stay quiet for long! A string of visitors threaten the peaceful existence of the mice in Rose Cottage and Tumtum and Nutmeg will use their daring and wit to make sure that everything works out. This collection of three stories is a wonderful read-aloud for Early Readers. Check out the second volume, Tumtum & Nutmeg The Rose Cottage Tales. MR/RA
Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck – Mice sisters Helena, Louise, and Beatrice live with their little brother Lamont in the Cranston home in Victorian England. When the Cranstons decide to voyage to America in hopes of finding a husband for their daughter the mice join them! The ensuing adventure is full of intriguing characters, romance and excitement. Also check another of Richard Peck’s mouse themed stories, The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail. MR/RA