About the Holiday
Incredibly, the term “Mother Goose” goes back to the 1650s to describe rhymes such as Baa Baa Black Sheep, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, Jack and Jill Went up a Hill, and The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. Fairy tales such as Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood also came under Mother Goose’s wing. While all of the rhymes are not as familiar to today’s children, many are still popular and their influence can be seen in current books, movies, and TV shows. Mother Goose Day was established in 1987 to highlight these stories and keep them alive for today’s kids. To celebrate, read some Mother Goose tales—either as originally written or in fractured form.
This first week of May also celebrates Children’s Book Week, which was established in 1919 to promote literacy awareness and the joy of reading. As the longest-running national literacy movement in the country, Children’s Book Week holds, sponsors, and encourages events in schools, libraries, bookstores, homes, and wherever young readers and books connect!
By Ryan T. Higgins
It’s a good thing Bruce lives by himself. He’s a grumpy grizzly who likes nothing. If it’s sunny he’s grumpy. If it’s raining he’s grumpy. And don’t even get started on how he feels about cute fuzzy animals. There is one thing he likes, though, and that’s eggs! Yummy eggs prepared many ways from recipes Bruce finds on the Internet.
One day a most mouth-watering recipe pops up on the screen—hard-boiled goose eggs drizzled with honey-salmon sauce. Bruce heads out with his own personal shopping cart to collect the ingredients. He ingeniously catches some salmon and raids a local beehive (this carnivore’s a locavore, you see). Next he pays a visit to Mrs. Goose. He takes her eggs after determining that they are free-range organic.
At home Bruce puts the eggs in his special pot and starts a fire in the stove. But the fire fizzles, forcing Bruce to make a visit to the wood shed. When he comes back, his lovely breakfast has hatched! And what’s worse, the little goslings think Bruce is their mother! Bruce stares into those sweet eyes gazing back at him and decides…to have buttered goslings on toast. But those little peepers just won’t cooperate, and for some reason Bruce has lost his appetite.
He gathers up the goslings in his shopping cart and wheels them back to their nest only to find that their mother has already flown south for the winter. Bruce leaves them in the nest anyway and heads for home. But it’s too late—the baby geese have already imprinted on Bruce, and they tag along happily after him. Bruce is stern with them. He roars. He tries to hide out in a tree. But it’s no use; he’s stuck with them
Bruce rises to the challenge, though. He gives up his space in the pool, teaches them how to paint, feeds them, and transports them in a specially-made baby carrier. As spring turns to summer and then fall, Bruce watches his geese grow from “annoying baby geese” to “stubborn teenage geese” to “boring adult geese.”
Finally, one day Bruce spies other goose families flying south and knows his time has come! He can get rid of those geese and take a long, well-deserved nap. Bruce explains migration to his geese, but they don’t quite get it, coming to him dressed in winter coats and hats. Hmmm…some creativity is needed. Bruce tries slinging them northward and sending them flying in remote-controlled planes, but the geese just hug him tighter.
Resigned to his fate, Bruce packs his bag and four smaller ones for his charges and boards a bus for Miami. “Now every winter Bruce and his geese head south together.” They wear floral shirts, and as his “kids” play in the sand, Bruce “dreams of new recipes—recipes that don’t hatch.”
Ryan T. Higgins’ Mother Bruce is an endearing story of dislike at first sight. Of course no one—not even a grumpy, loner bear like Bruce—can resist the sweet, loving faces of youngsters forever. Fortunately for readers, Bruce holds out longer than most, his transition providing giggle-inducing scenarios on every page.
Higgins’ illustrations are loaded with visual jokes, cultural references kids will love, and four of the cutest clueless geese around. Depictions of Bruce masterfully mix his gruff, bothered exterior with the big softie that lies underneath. Bruce’s solutions to his plight are clever and funny. There may be no better Mother Goose than Bruce!
Ages 4 – 8
Disney-Hyperion, 2015 | ISBN 978-1484730881
Mother Goose Day / Children’s Book Week Activity
Create a Soft Book
This week ‘ activity is a little different. Throughout the week you can create a simple cloth book, with each page representing one of the weekly holidays or the reviewed book. Each day I will give printable templates that can be used to construct the pages.
Today I present the supplies and directions to make the book and the first page.
- Printable Bear Template
- 1 sheet of felted wool in your favorite color, available at craft stores. You can also use sheets of felt
- Embroidery thread in any color
- Brown, dark tan, light tan and black felt
- Adhesive felt letters or fabric paint
- Fabric glue
- Flatten the sheet of wool (it may need ironing as many come rolled)
- Fold in half lengthwise
- Using the embroidery thread, sew the folded sheet of wool down the middle (this creates the spine of the book)
- Fold the sheet in half at the sewn binding
- Cut the fold to make pages
- On the cover, use the adhesive letters or fabric paint to make a title (you can use My Book or something of your own choosing) (Be mindful of the age of the child who will be looking at this book. Make sure that the adhesive letters are firmly attached to the wool or felt. If not, apply fabric glue)
- On the first page (the back of the cover), add the word BEAR with adhesive letters or fabric paint. Make sure the letters stick firmly
- Assemble the bear:
- Cut out the pieces of the bear from the template. Eyes are not included on the template. Cut small circles from the black felt for eyes
- Cut out the body from the darker brown felt. Glue the body to the page
- Cut the head from the darker brown felt. Glue the head to the page, overlapping the top of the body a little
- Cut the feet and paws from the tan felt. Glue onto the body
- Cut the ear inserts from the light tan felt. Glue onto the ears
- Cut the eyes and nose from the black felt. Glue onto the face
See you tomorrow!
Picture Book Review