Monday, October 31, 2011

Frolic in the Leaves with Mouse and Minka

Read It. Move It. Share It. 
Each month I recommend a picture book for independent dance educator Maria Hanley to incorporate into her creative movement classes in New York City. October's book is Mouse's First Fall, which I thought of immediately when Maria told me she had some leaf props she wanted to use with her students. After reading about the book here, head over to Maria's blog to see what she came up with!

One cool fall day...
Mouse and Minka came out to play!

In some parts of the United States, the weather has been quite wintery over the last few days. I'm holding out hope, though, that the fall weather will soon return...

Fall was one of my favorite seasons when I was a little girl, and I especially enjoyed raking the leaves with my brothers and then enthusiastically jumping into the huge piles we had created in the lawn. As an adult, I still enjoy the fall. Although I now avoid raking leaves and sadly no longer think about jumping into them, I still love to look at them--the beautiful shades of yellow, orange, and red--and the way they flutter to the ground after a cool breeze blows just hard enough to release them from their branches.  

In Mouse's First Fall, written by Lauren Thompson and illustrated by Buket Erdogan, Mouse and Minka enjoy the fall both in the ways I did as a child and in the ways I do today. Judging by the cute blue shirt he is wearing, Mouse appears to be a young male mouse. Minka, in her pink shirt, looks and sounds like a female mouse. It isn't clear if she is Mouse's mother, his older sister, or another friend or relative, but she does take on a very motherly role, helping Mouse discover all the joys of fall.

Tumbling and twirling, fall leaves fell all around. 
"Look at all the colors" said Minka.
Mouse saw red leaves and yellow leaves and 
orange leaves and brown leaves.

As the book progresses, Minka points out that leaves come in different shapes and then suggests running through them, piling them up, and eventually jumping in them. Spurred on by these suggestions, Mouse experiences the leaves fully. He notes their shapes, runs and skips through them, kicks and swishes them, and even counts them as he piles them up. 

The illustrations in this book are gorgeous. It looks like they might be made from acrylic paints, but I'm not sure. The mice are drawn simply and cheerfully, and the deep colors of the artwork envelop each page of the book entirely. There isn't one ounce of white anywhere, except for a few small clouds popping out from the bluish purple sky on a few of the pages. I also love how the leaves are gigantic in comparison to the mice, which brings out the fall colors even more. 

Overall, Mouse's First Fall is charming, playful, and educational all at the same time. And the colors, shapes, numbers, and movement words in the book provide great fodder for a creative movement class. I hope Maria thinks so, too. You can read her post about the book here.

Hip-hip-hooray for fall!


  1. So delighted to have found your blog! I would love to chat with you about sharing your ideas (and Maria's) on my blog:
    ABCs of Reading: Integrating ARTS with BOOKS to teach COMPREHENSION Strategies.

  2. Hi, Jayne. Thanks so much! I checked out your blog, too, and it is fabulous! I'm a big proponent of integrating the arts into education, and I love that you focus on ALL of the arts! Thanks for your email, too. I will definitely get in touch :)

  3. That looks like a cute book to celebrate autumn with. It really is a short season in Canada and the UK. I enjoyed the mildness and extended autumn colours of Japan, so any way to prolong it is great, even if it's through stories.

    1. Hi, Crystal. We just moved from the East Coast to the West Coast of the United States and are having a little less colorful fall than we are used to, but are still enjoying the season before the temperatures really start to drop. Thanks for stopping by!


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