Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Lion and the Mouse

I love the holiday break!! I stopped by my local public library yesterday, picked up 3 fun adult books to read, 1 picture book (more on that later in this post), and a lot more of Louise Borden's books (our school's visiting author in January). Knowing that I have a week and a half ahead of me full of big chunks of free time, I can't wait to curl up and read!

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"
I haven't been following a lot of the mock Caldecott lists but I would have to believe this gorgeous book is on most of them!!


  1. I am preparing a Mock Caldecott unit for my first graders and this book is definitely on the list. It easily qualifies as "distinguished" in my opinion!