There is absolutely no doubt in my mind about the benefits of reading with young children. In fact, Chris Evans wrote about it beautifully in the run up to last week’s 500 words competition that he ran on Radio 2 in conjunction with the Hay Festival. I love reading with my children, not just at bedtime, but what fascinates me most is how their thoughts and questions are influenced by what we’ve been reading. So often we’ll be reading one book and Little Miss C will reference back to another one and talk about how they’re similar or different. She’ll even spot themes that I haven’t even really thought about.
We’ve recently been enjoying The Mouse Who Ate the Moon by Petr Horacek and the questions and commentary that she’s been coming out with as a result are fascinating.
The story is a lovely tale of Little Mouse who before bed one night looks at the beautiful moon in the sky and wishes that she could have a piece of it of her own. The next morning she thinks her wish has been granted as she finds a piece of the moon lying on the ground outside her hole. As she went to investigate she discovered that it smelt delicious, so delicious that she can’t resist having a little nibble. A little nibble turns into bite after note and before she realises it, she’s eaten half of her piece of the moon. Distraught she worries that this means the moon won’t be round any more.
Rabbit and Mole come across Little Mouse and they both firmly tell her that it is impossible to eat the moon. But Little Mouse knows differently. Or does she?
That evening Rabbit and Mole get Little Mouse to come out of her hole and take a look at the moon again, who is back in the sky in a complete round form. Little Mouse is relieved, but just what has she been eating?
It really is a lovely book with cute illustrations and different shaped pages meaning that the pictures build up on each other from page to page. We’ve been huge fans of Petr Horacek for a while here (Master C still regularly requests Honk Honk! Baa Baa!) and love his style. This new title certainly didn’t disappoint.
But what is the moon made of mummy?
Even before we sat down to read The Mouse Who Ate the Moon, Little Miss C had been asking lots of questions about what the moon was made of and why it appeared so brightly in the sky. This book just encouraged more and more questions, and several quite inventive solutions too!
Many people have heard the saying that the moon is made of cheese, but when a three year old asks you how you’re sure that it isn’t, it can be a bit tricky to answer her fully.
I explained that real people had been to the moon and that fact just seemed to blow her mind totally. Sure, plenty of book characters had been, but real people is a whole different matter. Even finding footage of the moon landings online didn’t totally convince her that it had really happened (and I know some people do still question the fact!)
Many children LMC’s age have the general idea that the moon comes out when the sun goes to bed, but how do you therefore explain why you can sometimes see the moon in the day time? And what about the moon changing shape in the sky from night to night? It’s one thing explaining what is really happening, but translating that into terms that a three year old can fully understand is a bit more tricky.
I think she’s now sold on the idea that the moon is really made of white rocks, and the reason why it looks like it shines being light reflecting off it (another little experiment with a torch and different coloured pieces of paper to illustrate different colours reflecting things different amounts). Even the idea of the earth being round has now become more of a fact than a theory to her. She is still however set on the idea that there are actually several moons because when she looks at the moon from our house it looks like it’s over in a certain direction, but that can’t be right as when she looks at it from Granny’s house it is somewhere else.
I always expected lots of questions as a parent, but I wasn’t expecting to need quote so much astronomy knowledge so early on!
Draw your own version of Little Mouse
I love how much one book can inspire a chid in so many ways. If your little one wants to have a go at drawing their own Little Mouse then look no further than this handy guide (click on it for a larger version that you can print). Maybe you could create your own picture of Little Mouse looking at the moon and be creative about what you craft your moon from.
I’m delighted to be part of The Mouse Who Ate the Moon Blog Tour to celebrate the launch of this lovely book. Please make sure you check out the other blogs taking part too. So far there has been a round up about the best books about the moon, and a Q&A with author Petr Horacek.
Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of The Mouse Who Ate the Moon for the purposes of this review. This post contains affiliate links.