|Image from AudreyWood.com|
There’s a beautiful red ripe strawberry near the tree trunk home of little Mouse. Mouse cannot wait to pick the strawberry, but then the narrator warns the mouse about the big hungry Bear. The Bear loves strawberries and no matter how cleverly you hide them or vigilantly guard them, the Bear will find them and eat them! Good thing the narrator knows just what to do to save the strawberry. One half for the little Mouse to eat and one for the narrator; that’s the way to save a strawberry from the big hungry Bear!
The simple text, written in first person present tense, speaks directly to little Mouse. Although Mouse never answers with words, her/his reactions and facial expressions speak volumes. The color pencil illustrations are lush and round, transporting the reader to a mouse-eye view of a soft-focus forest. The book is slightly larger than average and the font is large and easy to read. All these elements combine to create a wonderful book for reading aloud.
After you read the book ask the kids who they think the narrator is. A helpful friend? Another mouse? Or maybe the bear? Did little Mouse really save the strawberry from the bear?
Use this for a storytime about fruits and berries and pair it with books such as, Jamberry, Orange Pear Apple Bear (which also features a bear, a nice connection), or Too Many Pears.
The red ripe strawberry is so brilliantly red, this could also be a fun story for a red themed storytime. Follow up with other red-centric books, like Red is Best or Red Truck.
Introduce the basic concept of fractions by talking about halves and wholes. Bring in strawberries and other foods that can be cut in half to illustrate the idea. Try a slice of bread, a piece of pie, a cookie, an apple, an orange, an avocado, a pear, or even a melon. Have kids make their own paper strawberries to cut in half, which is also great for learning scissor skills.
If your kids haven’t seen a live mouse before, see if you can bring one into storytime or take a field trip to the pet store.
Make some plastic eggs leftover from Easter into plastic strawberries and have a game of Find the Strawberries around the storytime room or even the entire children's area. I also like this twist on a classic game, Pin the Stem on the Strawberry.