I’ve heard of a greenhouse, the Whitehouse, and even a house of cards. I’ve heard of a townhouse. I live in one. But, who ever heard of a blueberry house? Well, Blueberry Mouse, of course! Blueberry Mouse, written by Alice Low and illustrated by David Michael Friend, tells of a mouse as sweet as she can be. And, why not? She nibbles the whole day long . . . on sweet, juicy blueberries inside her blueberry house.Blueberry Mouse’s house is made of blueberry pie and everything inside is made of . . . you guessed it . . . blueberries. Blueberry Mouse nibbles her blueberry table and blueberry cups. Her blanket and bedclothes and even her bed are not spared when Blueberry Mouse gets hungry. It is no wonder Blueberry Mouse is a lovely shade of blueberry. And it sounds like a lovely existence, too, until Blueberry Mouse begins to nibble her window and wall and her floor and her door. That’s when the roof comes crumbling down.
You might think Blueberry Mouse a rather foolish mouse for eating so many blueberries. But, did you know that many scientists believe that blueberries are a “super” food containing high contents of antioxidants, which help to prevent aging and many common diseases? So maybe Blueberry Mouse and her creator, Alice Low, are onto something. Now, I’m going to scoop up a big dish of blueberry ice cream, dribble warm blueberry sauce over it, and put a cherr. . . I mean a blueberry on top. It’s important to stay healthy, you know. (grin)
FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group
“This book was crazy,” said Becky. “I never heard of a blueberry mouse.”
“The Blueberry Mouse just loved blueberries,” said Hannah.
“Everything was blueberry,” said Charlie.
“Even her table, doors, walls, roof, and floor,” said Miguel counting off on his fingers.
“ . . . And her bed,” said Greg.
“Blueberry Mouse loved everything blue,” said Marta.
“I know. It’s crazy!” said Sarit.
“She turned blue from eating too many blueberries,” said Jack. ”I thought that only worked with carrots.”
“But she’s a BLUEBERRY mouse,” insisted Sarit.
Becky giggled. “I liked when Blueberry Mouse ate her sheets.”
“Yeah, that was pretty funny,” said Greg. “She ate almost all of her house, too.”
“I never heard of a mouse eating a house,” said Katie-Erin.
“She should be fat,” said Lucy, “but she wasn’t.”
“Why would Blueberry Mouse do such a thing?” asked Marta.
“Well, it sure wasn’t smart for her to eat her walls,” said Jack with a laugh.
“Yeah! Her roof will fall down. I wouldn’t want my roof to fall down,” said Anya.
Sarit shook her head. “She didn’t know what she was doing.”
“Yeah,” said Keisha. “Like, if you love blueberries, never build your house out of them!”
Miguel thought a moment. “I’d make my house out of pizza,” he said. “Yum!”
“Well, I would build my house out of pure Indian food,” said Pritka. “Pita bread for the walls and floors.”
“My floors would be made of marshmallows,” said Philippe. Then if I fell, I wouldn’t get hurt. Marshmallows are very fluffy.”
“Well, if I were a mouse, I would be a strawberry mouse,” said Hannah, “I like strawberries.”
You could almost see the wheels turning in Juan’s brain. “If the author wanted to,” he said, “she could make a lot of different mouse books . . . like Waffle Mouse . . .”
“. . . Or Chocolate Chip Mouse,” yelled Zach.
“Or Ice Cream Mouse,” said Philippe.
“Or Spaghetti Mouse with Sauce,” added Miguel.
“This is making me hungry,” said Zach.
“It’s a blueberry–licious book,” said Pritka.
“Well, I think it was a little crazy for a mouse to eat her own house,” said Hannah. “But since the Blueberry Mouse just loved blueberries, I guess it’s sensible. I think the author was trying to teach us that if you love something – don’t eat it all up!”
“Blueberry Mouse couldn’t resist!” said Miguel with a laugh.
Sarit sighed. “Yeah! She was really a fan of blueberries!”
Children will feel just like the Blueberry Mouse in this edible math lesson. But unlike her, I hope they can resist eating the blueberries before the lesson is over.
GUESSTIMATE, DISCUSS & COUNT, REAL COUNT
First, have children wash their hands. Then give each group of four children a pint of blueberries and four napkins. Next, give each child a piece of paper. Have them fold it into three columns and write GUESSTIMATE at the top of the first column, DISCUSS & GUESS in the middle column, and REAL COUNT in the last column.
Guesstimate . . . . . . . . . . Discuss & Guess . . . . . . . . . Real Count
Ask the children to guess how many blueberries are in their pints. Tell them it is a private guess and ask them to not discuss their answers with their partners. Reassure them that this is only a guess (guess + estimate = guesstimate) and that you do not expect them to be correct. Have them write their answers in the column under GUESSTIMATE. Remind them to NOT change their answers in this area.
DISCUSS & GUESS:
Now, have each group of children discuss how many blueberries they think are in their pint. Give plenty of time for this chatter and listen carefully to their reasoning. Have each child write his or her guess in the column under DISCUSS & GUESS. Again, remind them that this is still a private guess and that you do not expect them to be correct, but that their answers may be closer to the “real” count this time.
Now, pour a portion of blueberries on each child’s napkin from their pint container. Have the children count the blueberries on their napkins by placing the blueberries in rows of ten. After the count is completed, have the children count up their groups of ten and their left over berries to see which group has the most. It’s easiest to do this if each child takes a turn and counts by ten and then the next child continues on. If there are extra berries (ones), save them to count last. Children may need assistance with the counting.
Expand the lesson by doing one or more of the following activities.
MORE or LESS
1. Find out which child in each group had the most/least berries.
2. Find out which group in the class had the most/least berries.
3. Split each group of children in half. Then have them count their total number of berries and compare them with the other members in their group.
Well, if you got this far and you still have blueberries left, give your class a great big hand. And, now the best part . . . clean-up. Bon Appétit!
(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)
Maine Farmhouse Journal: PYO Blueberries http://www.crabcoll.com/journal/pyo.html
A Fair Bear Share by Stuart J. Murphy, illustrated by John Speirs
If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Joffe Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond
By Word of Mouse by Kate Spohn
Quiet as a Mouse by Lynne Gibbs, Illustrated by Melanie Mitchell
Watch Out Jan Fearnley