A Few Rodent Tales to Enjoy Together

While away at Grandma's house, the kids are so into whatever projects they have going that there is often very little time to take a breath, much less spend time with television or movies, or other types "screen time" (whew!). But one late night on our trip this last week, we all bundled up on the couch and watched last year's Ratatouille. Despite there being a few scenes I'd rather not see in something claiming to be rated "G", the movie is a precious one filled with tender moments, spot on humor (including the slapstick stuff that gets the kids rolling), and truly wonderful insight. Even the youngest of our bunch commented on the beautiful transformation of the hardened character of Ego.

So we enjoyed the movie together, went to bed in the rat's nests built of blankets and pillows, and woke up and quite coincidentally (or perhaps not) started exploring other rodent tales. Here are just a few of the ones we've rediscovered and uncovered together in the days since.

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood-
This fabulous little book, available in paperback or board book style was and remains one of my son's favorite all time stories. At one time, he use to just love naming the pictures and laughing at the brilliant illustrations, but now he likes to sneak off an read it to the animals. A great story for any age - I'd love to get the chance to do something with high school age writers and artists with this one!

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Brian O'Brien-
When I was young, I fondly remember the movie The Secret of NIMH, but had never read the original text by Brian O'Brien , until just this week. I highly recommend this wonderful tale. On the surface, it is a story about a mouse and her family, but as you get into the story, a whole complex world opens up. I am a big fan of talking allegory with children as we read, and this one offers so many opportunities for it. Interestingly enough, when I read this with Zeal this week, he was the one doing all the talking, while I got to listen to all he was inferring from the story.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo -
This tale of a unique little mouse name Despereaux is one of our family's favorites. I've spoken of it before here in Wonderwise and on my blog, but I understand we are to expect a movie this holiday season, so my interest is surely piqued, and we will indeed need to be rereading it soon; we've already pulled it out and placed it on the shelf of honor. The story is indeed a dark one, so I am curious how some of the movie's scenes will be handled (and if they will be child-friendly). Be watching for the update on my blog come December.

Mouse Soup and Mouse Tales by Arnold Lobel-
And who can forget Arnold Lobel's wonderful Mouse Soup and its companion Mouse Tales? If you have a beginning reader in your household, get your hands on copies of these wonderful little stories. Mouse Soup, a classic, is reminiscent of 1001 Arabian Nights and much more clever than some of the other "I Can Read" books on the market.

And lest we forget this little colony of stories, the Ralph S. Mouse series by Beverly Cleary. Zeal comes back to these about once a year and discovers something new every time.

Do you have favorite rodent tales in your family? I would love to add them to our list, so please drop me a line if you have recommendations.