“Wilfred owned a moose. He hadn’t always owned a moose. The moose came to him a while ago and he knew, just KNEW, that it was meant to be his. He thought he would call him Marcel.”
Most of the time Marcel is very obedient, abiding by the many rules on How to Be a Good Pet. But one dark day, while deep in the woods, someone else claims the moose as their own…
Is Marcel really Wilfred’s pet after all?
This Moose Belongs to Me is a brilliantly fun book that treats children as totally capable thinkers. It doesn’t patronise them. It isn’t a fluffy gentle book with a happy ending. It challenges. With words they will have to think about, ideas they will have to ponder, illustrations that they will have to unravel. This is a book that will encourage children to think and process what they are seeing and hearing. Hurrah!
Oliver Jeffers doesn’t simplify language for children. They will come across wonderful words that they may be unfamiliar with, like dumbstruck, enraged, proximity, compromise and PERILOUS! The language structure will need breaking down and even the illustrations themselves may be in an unfamiliar style and need their own unlocking.
I too had to ponder over this text:
“The moose had a very good sense of direction, and Wilfred did not. And because the moose was particularly poor on Rule 7 [subsection b]: maintaining a certain proximity to home, Wilfred quickly learned to bring some string along on their outings so he could find his way back again.”
This doesn’t mean that this book is ‘too hard’ for small children. Quite the opposite. It is funny and beautiful and perfect for exploring together. It becomes a very interactive read.
When Wilfred gets himself into a perilous situation he thinks about various options of escape. His thought bubble contains images rather than words, prompting children to examine the illustrations, discuss what the images in the thought bubbles might mean and whether or not they would be feasible routes of escape. They are encouraged to interact with the book, decode images and have their own opinions. All whilst laughing at crazy Wilfred and his zany ways. Beautiful!
And of course, in true Oliver Jeffers style, there is an element of wry humour throughout and a lovely last twist at the end. What more could you want from a book?
Source: Our lovely local library.
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