image via grundycountylibrary.org
Don & Audrey Wood
illustrated by Don Wood
A little Mouse is preparing to pick a strawberry when you, the reader, come across him and ask what he is doing. The Mouse stands smiling near a ladder propped next to a large strawberry. You reply, "Oh, I see. Are you going to pick that red, ripe strawberry?" The mouse always responds not with words, but with body language and very telling actions. You inform little Mouse about the big, hungry Bear, "Ohhh, how that Bear loves red, ripe strawberries!" You follow Mouse through his perplexing (and hilarious) attempts to save his strawberry from the big, hungry bear.
Audrey and Don Wood combine again to create yet another of my favorites. This one would have to be in my top 5. Large, beautiful pictures, simple (yet perfect!) text, and a great ending.
Enrichment: This is a great book to help teach about predicting. In my teaching experience, I was so sad to come across children who wouldn't even make a guess at what might happen in a book. The words "I don't know," have no place in prediction because it wouldn't be predicting if you know the answer! The more you encourage prediction, you will be delighted at how creative and detailed your child's answers will become.
Before reading, ask questions about what the mouse is doing on the cover, and other questions stemming from the title. You can stop a couple of times during the story to have your child predict what they think the little Mouse is going to do to protect his strawberry.
Another Idea: Supply your child with glue, magazines, a red piece of construction paper, and scissors (that's right, I said scissors. How else are they supposed to learn to use scissors?). Cut the red paper into the shape of a large strawberry and have your child search out the color red in the magazine. Have them cut out the red object, and paste it, collage style, on the paper. Enjoying themselves? Move on to finding green to cut out for the stem. Make enough to have one for everyone in the family (sharing is a theme in this book), write family names on them and leave them by plates at the dinner table!
Buy It: A sign that it's popular, Amazon is currently out of stock. Available in hardcover for $6.29 (plus flat-rate shipping) at Overstock.