Official Review: the christmas mouse by Mark Spencer

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bookowlie
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Official Review: the christmas mouse by Mark Spencer

Post by bookowlie » 24 Jan 2018, 17:56

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "the christmas mouse" by Mark Spencer.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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The Christmas Mouse by Mark Spencer is an illustrated children’s book that takes place in the stables on the night the Savior is born. A small mouse spreads the word to the animals of the Savior’s impending birth. Although the mouse is very excited, the other animals complain about the impact this event might have on them. The donkey worries he will lose his bed made of hay, the sheep thinks his wool might be sheared to clothe the baby, etc. When an angel appears and requests help, how will the farm animals respond?

Written completely in rhyme, the story creatively discusses one aspect of the first Christmas Eve. The mouse is a sweet character that children are sure to love. There are a variety of farm animals in the story, and each is described with a distinctive attribute - the goat’s milk, the sheep’s wool, the donkey’s hay, etc.

The main plot is easy to follow. Some parts of the story have a heavy religious tone, although other sections focus on the animals’ realistic responses to visitors coming to their habitat. Many of the word choices are too sophisticated for young children (harken, anointed, decree, ilk, etc.). It would have been helpful to include a glossary of the advanced words since I think kids would become confused by the language.

The author uses a formal rhyme scheme, with the second and fourth lines rhyming. The writing has a natural, lyrical style, and there are no instances of stilted phrasing in order to include a word that rhymes. One section has a nice refrain as each animal, in turn, wonders if they will be inconvenienced in specific ways. Kids usually like this plot device, where the same phrase or question is answered by different characters.

The story is illustrated beautifully by Polona Lovsin. Each set of four lines is well placed at the top of the pages, which allows the artwork to be showcased. What I loved most were the characters’ facial expressions, particularly those of the cute mouse. In additional to the story, there is a nice bonus section of crafts and other suggestions to keep the Christmas Mouse tradition alive during the holiday season.

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The frequent use of advanced words kept me from awarding the highest rating to this heartwarming Christmas story. All ages would enjoy this book, although the rhyming text and picture book format is geared toward younger children.

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the christmas mouse
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Post by gali » 25 Jan 2018, 10:33

A book that takes place in the stables on the night Jesus was born and told from the POV of the animals? Interesting idea.
Great review as always!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by kandscreeley » 25 Jan 2018, 10:46

I do enjoy the thought of this book. It's too bad about the advanced words, but for a kid at heart like me, it might be perfect! This is the kind of poetry I can get into :) Thanks again for another lovely review! You're the best.
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Post by cshaffer17 » 25 Jan 2018, 10:47

I’m a sucker for illustration. I would read the book on the reviewers referral to the artwork, alone!

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Post by AEM » 25 Jan 2018, 19:32

I liked it it had good lessons in it and should really be in a big store

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Post by Ancilharper82 » 25 Jan 2018, 21:23

This book enjoyable and well written

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Post by KamalK » 26 Jan 2018, 02:12

This looks like a good book to present the religious perspective in a way to them. I guess it has a lot of elements that can teach some things to children, for example sharing and helping.

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Post by Hildah Mose » 26 Jan 2018, 06:31

I love it already. this book can be very entertaining as it also teaches Christian values to children. Thanks for the review

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Post by bookowlie » 26 Jan 2018, 10:18

Thanks everyone for the nice feedback! This is a book I can see children wanting to read over and over every holiday season.
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Post by Kat Berg » 26 Jan 2018, 15:27

In spite of the big words, this book sounds very cute. And I am a sucker for rhyming! (Just ask my students. I do it all the time.) Thanks for the review.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 26 Jan 2018, 15:46

What a cute perspective of the Savior's birth! I don't think anyone has yet told the story from the view of the stable inhabitants. Done in verse and with wonderful illustrations to boot, this book is a must-read for me. I hope I get the chore done before Christmas, LOL!

Thanks, Bookowlie, for the fun review!

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Post by bookowlie » 26 Jan 2018, 18:52

Thanks Miriam and Kat Berg! I also like rhyming books as long as the rhyming words are a good fit. Some authors just stick in an awkward word to fit in a word that rhymes. I am glad this wasn't the case here.
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Post by MsTri » 28 Jan 2018, 03:20

This sounds like a truly fascinating read. We all know the story of the First Christmas, so I love tales that have a different take on the event. It's a shame about the complex words, but perhaps they could also be used as a teaching tool for youngsters. When I was young - and even now, if I'm being honest - my favorite books were the ones that sent me to my dictionary, as I have always love learning new words to use. In any event, thanks for the great introduction to this book!

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Post by Ridestherange » 28 Jan 2018, 22:27

Thank you for the thorough review. Sounds like a cute story.

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Post by Sarah Tariq » 29 Jan 2018, 02:13

It's an exciting read for children as they take deep interest in animals. Good rhyming and illustrations are part of a good story book for children. Thanks for your thought provoking review.
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