Thursday, September 24, 2009

Moose in the garden by Nancy White Carlstrom

Okay, this is not the cover of the book, but I couldn't find a picture of it to save my life! So, I put this picture of a smiling moose here instead, mostly because the picture is my favorite part of the blog and I was determined to have something. It is a silly thing, but what I actually noticed first about this book is that the pages are numbered (32 in all). This is the first picture book that I have come across that has numbered pages. I have to wonder why this is, and why other books don't bother with it. Anywho, this book wasn't nearly as entertaining as I imagined it would be, but that doesn't mean that it isn't valuable. What I mean by this is that when I picked this book off the shelf and looked at the title I suppose I imagined a story of mischief and humor, but that isn't really whats going on here. Like I said, that is okay because this book has another purpose than entertaining alone. It was written with a lot of repetitive language, for example "These are the seeds we put in the dirt of our garden. These are the seed we put in the dirt of our garden, warmed by the sun". Every other page or so, it switches to a new topic. After focusing on the garden, it focuses on the moose walking in the woods to the garden, all in the same repetitive way. When I said that this book had another agenda, I was referring to things like this. The way of writing used here is conducive to learning new words, learning to recognize words by sight and becoming fluent in reading. That makes this book worth while. In addition, the illustrations seem to have been painted using an opaque paint like acrylic, and they are very well done.

One issue that I thought of while reading this is that after the moose eats nearly all of the vegetables in the garden, the parents are very upset. I guess part of me wondered if they were upset because they put all that work into the garden or for a more desperate reason. Perhaps, they were counting on those veggies to bring them money at a market or that was going to be stored for the winter months so they could eat greens. I don't have an answer for this, I was just thinking about the text and wondering about the people in it who aren't really developed beyond their emotional response to the moose. One amusing thing is that the little boy, unlike his parents, is delighted that the moose ate almost all the veggies and I am guessing that is because he doesn't particularly care for his greens.

The library suggests this book for students between the ages of 3 and 7. Once again I must yield to the experts and say that that sounds about right. It would be easily understood by all students in that age group and most of them could probably even read it with minimal assistance.

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