Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mouse's Corner: Mooncakes and A Cat Named Gorilla

When I first considered joining A More Diverse Universe Event, I started going through my daughter's shelves in search of books that might qualify. My daughter is fortunate to live in a community and go to a school that is fairly diverse. As a parent, I think it is important to continue to expose my daughter to a variety of cultures and ethnicities, and that includes through literature.  I would like her to have an appreciation for the differences as well as to know just how similar we all are as well.


When Gorilla Goes Walking written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Shane Evans
Orchard Books, 2007
Fiction (Children's); 32 pgs

We have two cats, one of which has been with us since before Mouse was born. She's never known life without a cat. She is also an only child, like the main character in Grimes' book. When Gorilla Goes Walking seemed like the perfect book for Mouse, a collection of poems telling the story of Cecilia, an African American girl, and her cat, Gorilla. It is a fun (and funny) story, with bright playful illustrations. Mouse and I both enjoy the rhythm of the verses as we read together. Gorilla is a bit more bold and mischievous than our own cats, but in some ways they are similar. Mouse really likes Cecelia and can relate to her in many ways. Especially when Cecelia is sick or sad, and her cat comes to comfort her.  Mouse particularly loves the page in which Cecelia and Gorilla get into the paints and make quite a mess. She always points out the colorful paw prints.  

My daughter and I are definitely interested in reading more by Nikki Grimes and Shane Evans.

To learn more about author Nikki Grimes and her work, please visit the author's website
To learn more about illustrator Shane Evans and his work, please visit his website



Round is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Thong, illustrated by Grace Lin
Chronicle Books, 2000
Fiction (Children's); 40 pgs
From the Publisher:  
A little girl's neighborhood becomes a discovery ground of things round, square and rectangular. Many of the objects are Asian in origin, other universal: round rice bowls and a found pebble, square dim sum and pizza boxes, rectangular Chinese lace and very special pencil case. Bright art accompanies this lively introduction to shapes and short glossary explains the cultural significance of the objects featured in the book. Perfect for read-alouds or one-on-one sharing.

My daughter has long known her shapes, at least the basic ones. She has a little trouble with differentiating between squares and rectangles sometimes, although mostly gets them right. I wish the author had gone with the triangle instead of the rectangle, but there are triangles to be found on some of the pages. As a result, I sometimes ask Mouse to identify them as we read through the book.  

Her favorite shape to point out is the circle. She loves finding the lanterns and moon. Mouse often asks questions about the objects she finds in the illustrations, and I do my best to explain what they are, including the "chop's inky mark" and the abacus.


I love the illustrations in the book. The colors are bright and big. For me, they make the book more than the actual words on each page. I think this is a book that will grow with Mouse over the next few years as she gets older and begins to notice different things.  

To learn more about author Roseanne Thong and her work, please visit the author's website
To learn more about illustrator Grace Lin and her work, please visit her website


© 2014, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

24 comments:

  1. Both sounds like a fun read! I think it's great to be able to bond with our children through books and enjoying the reading journey as well. :)

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    1. Melody - We enjoyed them both. Mouse is partial to Round is a Mooncake in particular. She's always wanting to point out the circles. :-)

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  2. Oh, these are lovely looking covers and illustrations! Lucky Mouse! Thanks for the links, Wendy.

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    1. Jenclair - Aren't they beautiful? I love the artwork in both.

      (Mouse has more books than her shelves will hold--much like my own. LOL)

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  3. I agree - exposing kids to diversity includes through their reading. These look like great books.

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    1. Kathy - My mom was a teacher for many years and I will always appreciate how she made a point to teach not only her students but also my brother and I about other cultures and traditions. I want that for my daughter too.

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  4. How do you seek out books for Mouse? I'm so overwhelmed by all of the choices that we typically just stick to classics or popular titles, but I know that we're missing out. I really like the look of Round is a Mooncake and I love when we can point out things on the pages in addition to reading the words. I think it's time we head to the library.

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    1. Trish - I know what you mean. There are so many books out there for children. About half of Mouse's library is made up of books I grew up reading and a good amount are gifts from other people. My mom has a knack for finding the most diverse books, but I keep my eye out for them too. Book fairs are a good source, as well as some of the smaller presses. Mostly it's just luck though.

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  5. It's so wonderful that Mouse is a little bookworm already! These look like great reads!

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  6. I did another book by Grace Lin on audiobook, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and really loved the story. I didn't realize at the time that the book was richly illustrated. Now there is a sequel and I want to find it in physical form.

    So glad you participated even though it was so difficult in your schedule!

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    1. Aarti - I will have to look for When the Mountain Meets the Moon! She's a wonderful artist.

      I have another post going up later this week featuring a book by Malinda Lo. And then on Saturday one of my From the Archives reviews fits the event! I know it's cheating to have read it so many years ago, but at least I can share it with people now. It's by one of my favorite authors. Fingers crossed, I'll have at least one, maybe two, more for next week as well.

      It means cramming for my other commitments, but now that I've been bitten by the bug, it's hard to stop. :-)

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  7. I bet my niece and nephew would love When Gorilla Goes Walking. (Animal books are their favorites!)

    Grace Lin's MG titles are fab, so I'm not surprised she has written good picture books too.

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    1. Liviania - It's a great book! Gorilla is a fun cat to read about. :-)

      I will have to look up more of Grace Lin's books.

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  8. Thank you for sharing what sounds like two delightful books with us.

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    1. Tracy - They are good ones! Mouse has good taste. :-)

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  9. These both sound like fun and wonderful that you read with your little one!

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    1. Naida - One of my favorite things to do with my daughter is read with her. One day she'll be reading to me!

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  10. I love the Gorilla Goes Walking Book and think the Tornado would love it. He adores our cat and she very weirdly likes him too. I'll definitely have to look for this one!

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    1. Katherine - I bet Tornado would enjoy Gorilla Goes Walking!

      My cats are still not too comfortable around Mouse, although Gracie will stand her grown when she is on my lap and Mouse wants to take over the spot. It's funny how they sometimes fight over my attention. :-)

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  11. I love the illustrations/concept in Round as a Mooncake. It looks like a good way to introduce young kids to Chinese culture.

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    1. Sarah - I think they artwork is very well done as well. I have a feeling my daughter and I will be enjoying Round is a Mooncake for a while yet. :-)

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