I still have a Christmas "to do" list so I'm not ready to dive into all the adult books, but I did curl up with the picture book I got -- The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney. I'm not sure how, but somehow this book escaped my attention until Mary Lee (A Year of Reading) recently used it as one of her mentor texts in a study on theme and literary essay. I made a mental note to myself to look at it sometime, so when it was displayed on the "New Books" shelf at the library, I just had to grab it.
Many of us grew up reading and knowing Aesop's Fables with their simple morals and themes. Pinkney took this story and created a wordless picture book that tells the story. The Lion and the Mouse is a visual feast for the eyes. There are many wonderful things about the illustrations, but I specifically loved the strength and kindness Pinkney manages to convey in both the lion and the mouse.
I'll be using The Lion and the Mouse with my 5th grade students for a variety of reasons:
- an appreciation of such a beautiful story and book
- the need to infer many of the events in this wordless picture book
- the introduction of fables and their messages
- the ability to find "theme"