Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Lion and the Mouse

Hadley asked me the other day what "investigate" means.  I told her it means to look into something, or to check something out.  I told her when you investigate something, you are figuring something out, kind of like a detective.  I don't know if this explanation was satisfying to her or not.  When we are talking to Hadley about anything she generally has a blank stare on her face and I don't know whether she's really listening.  Then three days later, she'll bring up what we were talking about almost word per word.  In the case of her query into what "investigate" means, she looked at me while I told her and then went back to playing.

I brought home Jerry Pinkney's The Lion and the Mouse from the library a few days ago, and I thought that before we took a look at it, I'd remind Hadley that she asked me what "investigate" means.  I told her that she could figure out the story in this book by just looking at the pictures, since there are few words.  The pictures in the book are startling.  I feel like I'm caught in the net with the lion, or scurrying around trying to break its strings with the mouse.  I thought that since the pictures do such a good job of telling the story, Hadley would think it was fun to "read" the story by herself.

This wasn't the case, however.  Hadley wanted me to tell her what was going on.  So over the past few days, we've been sitting down together and looking at The Lion and the Mouse.  Harper likes the story, too. She calls it, "the sad lion story."

Yesterday, the girls had to put their rainboots on before we read the story.  I'm not sure if that's because Hadley was imagining she was in the jungle with the lion and the mouse, or if rainboots were simply what you needed to wear at that moment.  Nevertheless, the rainboots were put on.

We read to the girls before they go to bed.  Last night, I told Hadley to pick out three stories, and then I went to another room to put something away.  When I came back, she was sitting on the couch reading The Lion and the Mouse by herself.

She was saying things like, "Oh no!  The lion's stuck in the net!  What's going to happen?"  And, "Here comes the mouse!  Squeak! Squeak! Squeak!"  A lot of what she said was exactly what I had said as I was telling the story, but after awhile, as she seemed to become more comfortable with the story, her own voice came creeping out.

I sat next to Hadley as she read the story, and I thought that she and I are a lot like the lion and the mouse. We don't always know how to communicate with one another, and we have different roles in the world we share.  A lot of times, these roles clash and we have to figure out what to do about that.  But I also think that, when one of us gets tangled up, we have a way of setting each other free.


  1. We love this book! So glad the girls enjoy it too!

  2. The process through which Hadley became comfortable with expressing the story herself was intriguing. I wonder if now, faced with a similar book, if she'd be more apt to start vocalizing the story on her own earlier, or if she'd still want you to tell it first?

    Looking forward to reading more posts from you!

    elizabethanne of elizabethannewrites

  3. Wordless books are so wonderful the way they encourage the reader to voice the story for herself. I haven't seen this book, yet. But it is on my (long) list.

  4. Beautiful. This sounds like a book my four year old daughter would love:)

  5. It's such a beautiful book, and now you've shared a beautiful experience with that beautiful book. Rainboots and all, it gave me a smile.

  6. This is one of my favourite books and what you wrote? One of my favourite posts. _Thank you_ for sharing it...and the rainboots, lol.

    Speaking of favourites. One of my all times is Elephant Buttons by Noriko Ueno. Another is Amanda's Butterfly by Nick Butterworth. If you haven't already read I would recommend! Most likely in your library...not sure if they are in print anymore?

    Happy Reading to you and your family!

  7. How did Comment Challenge work out for you? Even if you didn't make the five-a-day goal, come by the Finish Line at http://www.motherreader.com/2011/01/comment-challenge-2011-finish-line.html