A couple weeks ago Caramel went over his How Do Dinosaurs … books and reviewed the whole series for the book bunnies blog. Today he wanted to do something similar and chose another old favorite series of his: the If You Give … series, written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.
Sprinkles: So Caramel you wanted to talk about some of your old favorites again.
S: So how would you like to start this review?
C: From the beginning. With the first book. This is called If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. It’s about a mouse, a cookie, and a boy who is really nice and gives the mouse a cookie. Then the mouse asks for a glass of milk, then a straw, then a napkin, then a look in the mirror to see if he has a milk mustache…
S: Okay, I get it. So the boy gives the mouse something, and then that leads to another wish, and then pretty soon …
C: It goes all the way from a cookie to a lot of mess and lots of action, and in the end the mouse will get thirsty and want milk, and then another cookie. And you are back to the beginning of the story.
S: Ooh, that is neat. Kind of a circular story, but also seeing all sorts of consequences of just one little action.
S: So tell me more. What do you like about this book?
C: The illustrations are great! The mouse is sitting beside the milk glass in one picture, and he is so full, with a ginormous tummy. The cookie and the milk must be bigger than him all together, so no wonder he is exhausted.
S: That is funny!
C: The whole story is hilarious. I love it! And it all starts with a little boy giving a little mouse a little cookie.
S: That is really cool. Okay, so there are several other books in this series. You have read nine of them, right?
C: Yes. The second book I read is called If You Give A Moose A Muffin, and the third is If You Give A Pig A Pancake. And those books are about what the titles say. In the one about the moose, a boy gives the moose a muffin, and then a lot of things happen, including a puppet show, and blackberry jam, and so on. The one about the pig involves a girl giving a pancake to a pig, and then pancakes, a dancing pig, building a tree house, putting up wallpaper on that tree house, and many other things.
S: So a lot happens in each of the stories, when the child in question gives the animal in question something they want?
C: Yes. And in the end somehow we always come back to the beginning. So the moose ends up wanting a muffin again and the pig wants a pancake once more.
S: That is really cool. The author must be thinking very carefully and creatively about how to build that chain of events in a way that brings us all back to the beginning somehow.
C: Yes. No matter what, the books always end at the place they started. That is neat!
S: I agree.
S: Tell me about some of the other books.
C: The next thee books are If You Take a Mouse to the Movies, If You Take a Mouse to School, and If You Give a Pig a Party. So you can already tell that one of them is about a boy taking a mouse to the movies, and it is probably the same boy from the first book, and the same mouse. And in the next book the same boy takes the same mouse to school. And a lot of fun and messy things happen at school because of that. The pig and the girl in the last book, If You Give a Pig a Party, are also the same pig and the girl from If You Give A Pig A Pancake. I like that we see the same characters.
S: Well, you couldn’t really tell they are the same if you did not have the illustrations.
C: Yes, but the pictures are the same. And so I know they are the same people and same animals. And so the pictures tell a lot of the story. I like that too.
S: But then the seventh and the eighth books introduce new animals, right?
C: Right. The seventh book is If You Give A Cat A Cupcake, and it has a cat in it. There is a girl who gives the cat a cupcake and then the cat takes off and takes a karate class, and goes on a merry-go-round and visits a science museum, and so on.
S: You like doing those things!
C: Yes. I love going to the science museum, but we have not done it for a while. And we have not been to the beach for a while either.
S: That is true. So these animals are all doing all sorts of active and fun things, right?
C: Yes, in the next book, called If You Give A Dog A Donut, there is a dog who wants a donut, and then he gets one from a boy, who is not the boy from any of the other books I think. Then the dog goes picking apples, playing baseball, doing a happy dance, and having a water fight.
S: All fun!
C: Yep. And finally the last book is the mouse again, and he wants a brownie.
S: And let me guess, it is titled If You Give A Mouse A Brownie.
C: Yep. And it starts and ends with the brownie. And it is again hilarious.
S: So I think I know one of your three words to describe this series would be hilarious. What would be your remaining two words?
C: Circular, because they all end where they start, and great illustrations, because I love the pictures.
S: That sounds good. So apparently there are a few other books in this series, but we never read those. They do not start with “If You Give …” or “If You Take …” but the same mouse has adventures in each.
C: Oh well. At least we read all the “If You Give …” and “If You Take …” ones.
S: That’s true. And I think nine books are enough for this one review.
C: I agree.
S: So what do you want to tell our readers?
C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!