Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Book #102: Sheila Rae, The Brave by Kevin Henkes


Image from HarperCollinsChildrens.com
Sheila Rae is a brave mouse. She’s not afraid of the dark, thunder storms, mean classmates, or monsters that hide in closets. One day after school Sheila Rae decides to walk home a new way and calls her little sister, Louise, a scaredy-cat for being afraid. She walks home, stepping on all the cracks, boldly crossing streets, and scarring away mean dogs. Until she realizes that she’s lost. Suddenly she’s very scared and lonely. Luckily, Louise has followed her the whole way and is able to lead her bravely back home, stepping on cracks and crossing streets. Now both Louise and Sheila Rae are brave.

Once again, Henkes uses his signature style of writing and illustrating to address an important issue for kids and parents. The characters in the book learn that it's ok to be scared sometimes and to depend on other people. Kids will identify with the colorfully clothed mice, especially Sheila Rae, who is brimming with personality and spunk, and the loyal, loving Louise.

Before you read the book, ask your kids what makes a person brave and to give examples of bravery. Ask them the same question after reading the book. Do they think about bravery differently now?

After you read the book, ask your kids to tell you about a time when they were scared, but were brave anyway. If you have the time, have kids write their answers. They may be more willing to share their fears that way. You can also discuss the idea that it’s ok to be brave and it’s ok to be scared. Sometimes we get to be the brave one for someone else and sometimes they get to be brave for us.

Many kids worry about getting lost and this is a great book to address that topic. Follow up by making a map of your neighborhood. MotherGoosePrograms.com has great directions and discussion questions for making a neighborhood map.

If you like this book, check out my blog posts on Chrysanthemum and Julius, the Baby of the World. Both books are written and illustrated by Henkes and feature mouse protagonists.

-Amy

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