There’s a Mouse in My House is a joyful picture book spoken by a polar bear showing despair at a mouse who has taken up residence in his house. The polar bear announces this fact to the reader at the beginning of the book, then proceeds to observe his intruder page by page, working hard to find ways to entice the mouse to leave. The result of which is he actually develops a fondness for the quirky and likable trespasser.
The assonance of the ‘o’ sound found at the end of every line, is joyful to play with when reading out loud, particularly if the reader can find the fun in playing with the disdainful emotion linked to the phoneme. The ‘o’ sound also adds a fun weightiness to the performance of the piece necessary to capture the vastness of the polar bear’s size. Especially in comparison to the size of his bold intruder!
The performance of the poem, should a teacher choose to do so, is further enhanced by the clever typography which enables the reader to play with stressed words and emphasis. There is great humour in this poem, the mouse is brilliant! He loves rock music, Taekwondo, a long soak in a bubble bath and Ross Collins alongside Nosy Crow have really embodied, through the text, the hilarity and warmth of the evolving relationship between the unlikely pairing.
For young children as well, there is a beautiful opportunity to explore the world of First Impressions. The repelling that can happen when two beings who ‘must not’ or ‘could not’ live together is slowly softened and delighted by the warm embrace of familiarity. Children can delight in how the friendship grows and extends beyond an individual to a group.
The images are bold and fun. They also serve to challenge the perception of the speaker throughout and would be an interesting talking point with a group of young readers. Possibly exploring the themes of home, othering or prejudice. Can our ideas of others be wrong? For these reasons, There’s a Mouse in My House should hold a strong place on any EYFS shelf, or teachers’ collection as an opportunity to both play with the joys that performing poetry can bring, and also play with perception, friendships and relationships.
Copyright: Just Imagine Story Centre Ltd 2012-2021. All rights reserved.