Tots to Teens & in beTween - This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers

Title: This Moose Belongs to Me
Author & Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication Date: August 2012
Format: Paperback
Genre: Picture Books, Children's Book

How I Got It: I purchased it

Goodreads Summary: 
Wilfred owned a moose. He hadn't always owned a moose. The moose came to him a while ago and he knew, just KNEW, that it was meant to be his. He thought he would call him Marcel.

Most of the time Marcel is very obedient, abiding by the many rules of How to Be a Good Pet. But imagine Wilfred's surprise when one dark day, while deep in the woods, someone else claims the moose as their own...

Wilfred 'owned' a moose. As much as one can own a moose that has wandered into his yard and hangs out because Wilfred feed him apples. 

Courtesy of Oliver Jeffers

He names the moose Marcel, and ties a name tag to an antler. Now that Marcel was a pet, he would have to follow all of the rules for being a good pet. (Wilfred has at least 75 rules for being a good pet, not including the various subsections.) Marcel was pretty good at following some rules, like being quiet while Wilfred listened to records or providing shelter from the rain.

Courtesy of Oliver Jeffers

Marcel tended to wander, ignoring "Rule 7: Going whichever way Wilfred wants to go," as well as "Rule 7 [subsection b]: Maintaing a certain proximity to home." In order not to lose his moose, Wilfred had to follow him.  This required a ball of string since he had a poor sense of direction and the Marcel liked to take walks far from home.

Courtesy of Oliver Jeffers

One day, while Wilfred was telling the moose about their plans for the year "on a particularly long walk" they "made a terrible discovery... Someone else thought they owned the moose." An old lady was talking to the moose and calling him Rodrigo! The moose was very interested in the lady (who was feeding him an apple) and Wilfred became quite upset that his moose might have other owners. He stomps off in a huff and eventually falls down a hill, gets tangled up in his string, and just lays there. He considers and discards several escape plans. (This is a fun two page spread and includes the Penguin and the Bear from The Great Paper Caper as potential rescue options.)

Courtesy of Oliver Jeffers

But luckily the moose came along and "performed Rule 73 brilliantly: rescuing your owner from perilous situations."
Courtesy of Oliver Jeffers

Wilfred forgave him and decided that, just maybe, he'd never really owned the moose anyway.  They became friends and the moose could ignore Wilfred's rules whenever he wished.

I love Oliver Jeffers. Love him. While This Moose Belongs To Me didn't have the same lovely illustrations (in my opinion) that can be found in the Boy and Penguin stories, the story and art were still whimsical, fun, and filled with little gems. I'm not saying the illustrations were bad, I just like the style used in the other books better. This Moose Belongs To Me uses the same scribbly style as Stuck (a fantastic book) but with darker colors and more collage style illustrations. I felt that some of the collaged pages looked a bit muddy. "Muddy" isn't a great word, but the details, and sometimes the text, were hard to discern from the images at times. I prefer crisper illustrations when reading to a class but a smaller group wouldn't have a problem getting all of the visual details in this book. There are still fun elements in the pictures that kids will pick up on.

I've not read this story to a class, but I have read it to kids, and they all quickly pick up on the fact that you can't own a wild animal.  (The Canadian kids all thought Wilfred was insane.)  They enjoyed Wilfred's ridiculous rules and how he thought Marcel was following them when the moose was simply being a moose. Everybody also points out that of course the moose is going to hang out with people who feed him! This Moose Belongs To Me is sweet and silly, a fun read for kids. I think it's also a great one to discuss with your children. Can you own a wild creature?, why do you think Marcel hangs around?, pretty much any question you might have would be a good one to ask your child. Kids love to talk and share their opinion; getting them to think about and discuss the book not only engages them in the story but helps develop literacy skills.

This Moose Belongs To Me was a clever and story with fun details in the illustrations. However, I'm a bit torn between a 3 or 4 star rating. I don't think This Moose Belongs To Me is as good as his other stories but it's still a good story. I'm giving it 4 stars because it's good, but I think that unless Jeffers is an auto buy for you, like he is for me, this is one to pick up from the library.


Rummanah Aasi said...

Aww, this sounds adorable, Jennifer. I will have to check out the illustrations for myself. I do like the whimsical feel that is showcased on the examples you posted.

January 14, 2014 at 10:46 AM
Jennifer said...

I love the Oliver Jeffers books, but watch out for HEART IN A BOTTLE, it's about grief and not what people expect from one of his books.

January 15, 2014 at 2:07 PM

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