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“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.”
Summary: We follow Moose and Magpie through the four seasons and watch how they naturally behave as the year completes it's cycle. Magpie is constantly telling jokes, and through each joke we learn a little bit about the biology of moose - from their antlers to their hair to their migrations and mating.
This book is like 2 parallel books; on each page there is a block of text for the fictional story as well as a block of factual text about the biology of moose. The nature facts typically relate to the story. Factual information about animals is woven into this story about woodland animals.
Type of Reading: playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 9; read yourself: 8 to 10
Interest Level: 4 to 8
Reading Level: 2.7
Age of Child: Read with boys ages 2 and 4.
Young Reader Reaction: My boys enjoyed the book. The biology was a bit complicated for them to visualize, but they were entertained by the story.
Adult Reader Reaction: I was not a huge fan of this book. I like the concept of relating a fun story to a series of nature facts, but I felt that the story was forced in order to fit the facts in. It was strange that the animals in the story had human items, such as a hairbrush, a bottle of "mousse," and a mirror. In a story with so much factual info, this felt out-of-place. I just felt the whole book was forced and, while I respect the effort and the ideas, the result was not as effective as I would have liked.
Pros: Kids will enjoy the colorful illustrations. Older readers will like all the fun moose facts.
Cons: Disjointed story, jokes that only an adult or teenager would pick up on. Some of Magpie's jokes are not accessible to small children. For instance, there were plays on the words "mousse" as both a hair-care/gel product as well as "mousse" the dessert. While cute, for a child who 1) cannot read, 2) can read but can't spell or tell the difference between "mousse" and "moose", or 3) has no life experience with either of these items, this joke was lost on them. It's not as much fun when you have to explain the joke.
Borrow or Buy: Skip. I did not enjoy the book. My boys enjoyed the book well enough that it might be worth picking up from your local library for a quick read.