Mouse Soup, by Arnold Lobel, was published in 1977 and is a children’s version of Scherazade or A Thousand and One Nights.  In Lobel’s version, an adorable (I do not use the term loosely) little mouse is caught by a mean weasel who intends to make mouse soup. How this mouse saves himself is familiar to those who have read the earlier tales; he tells adventure stories. The delightfully illustrated Table of Contents lists the stories as “Bees and the Mud,” “Two Large Stones,” “The Crickets,” and “The Thorn Bush.”

The mouse’s recipe for a perfect Mouse Soup involves the weasel gathering items from each story, and the reader supposes the mouse is doomed.  Read this book and see the way the mouse avoids becoming soup. It is best as a read-aloud first, then a book you and your children/grandchildren can read to each other. It is over fifty pages, but there is a stopping place, which often involves a cliff-hanger, at the end of each story/chapter.  Much of each page is taken up by the delightful illustrations.

With assistance, first or second graders should be able to read this book.



Today’s recommendation is not a book kids can read, but one which adults will love to read to their kids or grandkids.  It is 288 pages, so it should be taken on as a long-time project, but adults will be tempted to read ahead.  The Odessa Chronicles by Carolyn Shelton and Colin Chappell (a blogging friend) is a must-read for adults who remember childhood on a farm and for children who are fascinated by animals. The main characters, Oddessa, “a Barn Owl with an attitude”; Jaxton, a magical Jackalope; Dewey, a cat with”the usual cat characteristics;” and the man-servant, Joshua Pebblestone are unforgettable. The adventures that transpire are warm, funny, and provide “teachable moments” for adults and “life lessons” for children.

I enjoyed reading the book and highly recommend it. Look for a longer review on this blog soon.


Today I am starting a new type post. Saturday Morning for Kids will be book reviews and miscellaneous thoughts aimed at the younger set.  When I was a kid, Saturday morning TV was reserved for kids only. Showtimes began at 6:30 a.m. and ran through 11:00 or 12:00 noon, depending on the network.  While kids were safely occupied with cartoons, Mom and Dad could safely sleep in a few extra hours if they wished.  Older kids poured cereal and milk into younger siblings’ bowls, and we munched in time with the musical backgrounds of cartoons like Looney Tunes.  Who knew we were getting an education on classical music!

Today’s review will be of The King of Show and Tell, a book in the Ready Freddy series written by Abby Klein and illustrated by John McKinley. This 86 page (large print) book, published by Scholastic includes at the back a newsy, fun letter from the author to the reader and Freddy’s Fun Pages which includes facts about sharks, a secret decoding riddle, a fill-in-the-blank silly story written by the main character, directions for building a bird feeder, and a maze.

The first page of the book states Freddy’s problem:

“I have a problem.  A really, really big problem. I never have anything cool to bring for show-and-tell. Let me tell you about it.”

The characters are the typical ones found in classrooms for students young enough to have Show-and-Tell in their curriculum, and will appeal to readers young enough to participate in this activity, especially those who might share Freddy’s problem. Without spoiling the plot or the outcome, read this book to your kid, grandkid, or students and see how Freddy goes from the Dunce of Show and Tell to the King of Show and Tell.

It is a funny book and an outstanding series.