Picture Book Party Recap: Life with Mammoth & Mouse and Mole A Winter Wonderland

Life With Mammoth (Ogg and Bob)Life With Mammoth by Ian Fraser
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ogg and Bob are two best friends who happen to be cavemen. Mug is their pet mammoth who excels at causing problems. Life with Mammoth is a reader with three chapters: bath time, cave art and best friend. The full color artwork adds another dimension to this book that will appeal to young readers obsessed with all things prehistoric. Bob and Ogg speak in stereotypical cavemen speech, but this is not a beginning reader in the sense of a Biscuit book. Nor is it as complex as Bink and Gollie in terms of vocabulary. It touches on some themes familiar to children – basic games and friendship – with a touch of humor.

In the first chapter, Mug hides so he doesn’t get a mammoth bath. Bob’s guesses of where to look for Mug are so close to being right that readers are sure to giggle that he keeps not finding the large, fuzzy creature. It is not until the change of the weather that they find their missing pet.

When Ogg declares the cave to be boring, he and Bob try to liven it up with some artwork but nothing is quite right in their eyes. Then they get a big help from a very muddy mammoth. Chapter three begins with an argument over who is Mug’s best friend. This is interrupted by the arrival of a dangerous sabertooth.

This book is a Junior Library Guild selection.

Mouse and Mole, A Winter WonderlandMouse and Mole, A Winter Wonderland by Wong Herbert Yee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first encountered Mouse and Mole when student teaching in an elementary school library in Fall 2010. I was pleased to see A Winter Wonderland arrive at the school I now work at. The artwork is sweet and makes this friendship really come alive in these four short chapters. This book will appeal to fans of other readers starring animal friends, such as Frog and Toad

The book begins with Mouse bundling up for a warm day outside. Children will enjoy the sound effects and enthusiasm as she gets ready and then then races off to find her friend. Mole, on the other hand, wants to hide from the snowy weather in his bed. This first scene reminds me a little bit of the start of Bedtime for Bear, another great start of winter story.

Mouse has a great time playing outdoors, but something is missing. That something is a friend who will play in the snow. She builds herself a snow mole and then borrows Mole’s winter things to finish it up. Meanwhile the real Mole is getting bored of being warm inside his bed. He peeks outside and is shocked to Mouse with a new friend. Children will recognize this frozen new friend before Mole figures it out.

This playful book is a great one to promote at the start of winter. I could see children having a lot of fun doing the first chapter as a book trailer – bundling up in a blanket like Mole or pulling on snow pants like Mouse.

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