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Learning From the Little Mouse

Joe Ranvestel

Posted on June 2, 2019 22:02

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Children's books can provide valuable lessons, sometimes in very subtle ways. Sometimes, they even provide lessons they might not have intended.

A good children's book does far more than simply calm a hyper child before bedtime. It can provide heart-warming tales, beautiful imagery, and best of all, provide valuable lessons in a fun, palatable way. Recently I was made aware of one such story, but I think children, and even adults, can take away a different message from it. The story is called The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear

To sum up the story, a mouse climbs up a tree to get a strawberry. The narrator of the story informs said mouse about the dangers of bears, and how the bears like eating strawberries. The narrator tells the mouse that his strawberry isn't safe; no matter what he does, the bear will find him and his strawberry. So the narrator offers the mouse a deal, to cut the strawberry in half, so they both eat it before the bear comes. Then the book shows a nice picture of the mouse sitting happily after eating his half of the strawberry. Wholesome enough story, right? Except there's one thing a reader might notice. 

The mouse never sees or hears the bear, or has any evidence of it. The mouse relies on the narrator's descriptions of the sounds, and in fear, gives up half of his hard earned strawberry. 

Maybe it's asking a bit much for a child to read into the story like this, but it appears to give a valuable lesson. It's telling us to be skeptical, and to ask questions and look into things before we give up what we have. There's a lot of stuff we're told to be fearful of today, whether related to politics, or crime, or health, or any number of scary topics. Sometimes we're asked to give up a lot for our security. I think instead of being the mouse, and giving up half of our strawberry, sometimes we need to see if the bear is actually real first. 

Joe Ranvestel

Posted on June 2, 2019 22:02

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