Monday, January 9, 2012

My Youngest Child's Favorite Book - Mouse Went Out to Get a Snack by Lyn Rossiter McFarland illustrations by Jim McFarland

Text copyright © 2005 Lyn Rossiter McFarland
Illustrations copyright © 2005 by Jim McFarland

A scrawny mouse emerges from his home to get a snack. He doesn’t want much -  just a bit of cheese. He scurries around, wary of the house cat.  When he arrives at the dining table, he climbs up the leg, and to his delight, a feast lays before him.  Suddenly, one measly piece of cheese hardly seems sufficient. He flexes his muscles and cracks his knuckles. Then he gets busy!
Mouse drops a platter on the floor and begins tossing  heaping amounts of  food on top of it: "1 piece of cheese; 2 plump plums; 3 baby carrots; 4 fried chicken legs; 5 ears of corn; 6 tasty tacos; 7 assorted jelly beans; 8 colorful cupcakes; 9 jolly gingerbread men and 10 slices of chocolate cake."
After climbing down the table, Mouse again flexes his muscles, hoist the platter over his head and starts back to his mousehole.  His run of good fortune ends when he is confronted by the dreaded cat. Attempting to evade capture, Mouse sprints through the house still holding the platter laden with food.   
Mouse arrives home, but alas, the platter of food is humongous and the mousehole entrance is tiny.  Mouse skids to a stop and the platter of food goes flying. Will Mouse scurry into his hole unharmed but empty handed .. .

Periodically, I ask my kids to name their favorite books. This week I am featuring their responses.

I borrowed Mouse Went Out to Get a Snack from the  library a few years ago because of my affinity for the Tom and Jerry cartoon when I was a child. My kids received the Tom and Jerry DVD set this Christmas. It was their first introduction to the series. Once I peeked in on them watching it and howling with laughter. I felt so nostalgic thinking back to myself at that age, sprawled out on the sofa with my own siblings. It was a full circle moment. They told me that Tom and Jerry reminded them of Mouse Went Out to Get a Snack.

At first glance, Mouse Went Out to Get a Snack is deceptively simple: the text is sparse and composed of simple, short phrases. Kids, though, will eat it up!  The story really invites audience participation. My own kids cannot resist imitating the puny little mouse flexing his tiny muscles and cracking his knuckles. They cannot resist listing all the 10 food items McFarland has drawn to look so yummy. All three have learned to identify their numbers from Mouse Went Out to Get a Snack. In addition, Jim McFarland's illustrations of the darling, scrawny mouse are so enjoyable that you cannot just skim over them, no matter how many times you have read the book.

Mouse Went Out to Get a Snack has two double pages that we use as a memory game. On those pages, the food items are pictured with the numbers next to it, but without the description that is included on the earlier pages. The kids delight in trying to recite the descriptive words for all the food items from 10 down to 1 without making any errors.

Each of the boys at some point in the last 4 years has named  Mouse Went Out to Get a Snack as their absolute favorite and now it is my daughter's turn. While it no longer occupies the #1 position on either of my boys' lists,  my eldest still includes it in his top 10, and my middle son, in his top 5.  It pleases me greatly that Lyn McFarland's funny, action filled and very endearing story has remained so popular with them all!


  1. The book sounds deceptively simple, but seems to be 100% alluring for young kids. I think my 4year-old will like this. Thanks for sharing.
    Found you through the Comment Challenge.

    1. Hi Darshana,

      I'm glad you decided to check out my blog. I agree with you. I think your 4 year old will like this.