Author: Don and Audrey Wood
Artist: Don Wood
Genre: Animals / Food / Trickery / Humor
Year Published: 1984
Year Read: 2016
Publisher: Child's Play International Ltd.
Content Rating: Ages 5+ (Some Mischievous Behavior)
Now, I have been reading Audrey and Don Wood’s works for many years, especially many of their earlier works including “The Napping House,” “Heckedy Peg” and “King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub.” So, imagine my delight when I finally got around to one of their most highly praised books that I never had the chance to read when I was little called “The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear” and I was pleasantly surprised by the results!
The story starts off with a little mouse going to get a big, ripe and juicy strawberry from the tree and the narrator starts having a conversation with the mouse and then suddenly the narrator states that a big hungry bear might be on the prowl and is looking to steal the mouse’s strawberry! So, the mouse tried to find ways to hide its strawberry away from the hungry bear, while the narrator continues to warn the mouse about the hungry bear being on its way to take the strawberry. Later on however, the narrator then makes a suggestion that might help the mouse save its strawberry from the bear…
What does the narrator suggest?
Read this book to find out!
I must say that I was quite impressed with Don Wood and Audrey Wood’s collaboration on this book! I loved the fact that Don and Audrey Wood allows you (the narrator) to interact with the mouse character in this book and warn him about the hungry bear that might come and eat its strawberry. Don and Audrey Wood did a fantastic job at making the narrative creative and suspenseful at the same time as we also worry about how the mouse will save its strawberry from the big hungry bear while in a way encouraging the mouse to find clever ways to hide the strawberry. Don Wood’s artwork is simply amazing and beautiful to look at as the mouse looks incredibly cute with its black beady eyes and its extremely long tail and I loved seeing the images where the mouse tries to find different ways to protect its strawberry, such as digging it in the ground and putting a disguise on the strawberry. I also loved the way that Don Wood drew the lush environment that the mouse lives in and you can see various weeds surrounding the mouse which gives the environment an exotic flair.
The reason why I took off half a star from the rating was because I felt that the narrator purposely scaring the mouse in the story just to get half of the strawberry felt a bit too mean-spirited. This is really apparent when we see images of the mouse looking legitimately terrified about the prospect of meeting the hungry bear (which never made an appearance in the actual story). Parents should let their children know that tricking other people to get what they want from other people is not the way to go in this kind of situation.
Overall, “The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear” is a truly cute story about trickery and suspense that children who are fans of Don and Audrey Wood’s works will get a kick out of! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the narrator purposely scaring the mouse would send mixed messages to small children.