Written and Illustrated by: Frank Viva
Preview and Predict
Whether it's because you just don't want to go, or it's just been a long trip, everyone has asked "Are we there yet?" at least once before and Mouse is no different. He is ready to go back home before they even arrive, but by the end of the trip, he is asking when they can return. Before you begin reading the story, talk to your child about what s/he sees and predicts about the story. You can also take this time to plant vocabulary as well that will come in handy during your reading. Ask these questions, and feel free to spread them out across several readings, as your child benefits more from reading stories several times.
What do you see on the cover?
What do you think the story is going to be about?
Have you ever been on a boat? If so, where did you go and how was the trip? If not, where would you want to go? What do you think the trip would be like?
Talk About Setting
The characters in this story take a trip to Antarctica, so preface the story by saying, "The title of this story is "A Trip to the Bottom of the World With Mouse". Where do you think this story will be set?" Tell your child that a story's setting is where it takes place and give an example from another story that your child knows. You can also ask "Based on what you see, what do you think Antarctica is like?" You can talk about the snow on the cover and how it is very cold there.
As You Read
As you go through the story, there are several things that you can do to make the experience more entertaining and educational. Firstly, you can give Mouse and the boy different distinct voices. You can make the decision to make Mouse's voice whiny or just curious, and you can even ask your child to weigh in. Ask, "Do you think Mouse is whining or is he being curious?" This will determine how you read the dialogue. Also, interject little commentary and introduce words that your child may not know. For example, you may say, "Wow, Mouse is being very IMPATIENT. Do you know what IMPATIENT means? It means that he doesn't want to wait, he wants to be there right now!" There may also be other words throughout the story that your child doesn't know like TACK and GUPPY, so you can use the illustrations to help your child understand what those words mean.
Stop every once in awhile to clump information or make connections between parts of the story and the real world. For example, you can ask questions like, "Why do you think Mouse doesn't want to go on this trip? Why do the waves make it hard to do all of these things? What else do you need to have when it's cold?
Take this time to recap the story and build comprehension of the storyline. Try using these questions and any more that may come to mind:
Did you like that story? What was it about?
What did Mouse keep asking the boy?
Would you ever want to visit Antarctica? What would you do/see there?
Have you ever felt IMPATIENT? When?
Why do you think Mouse asked if they could come back? What do you think Mouse learned from this trip?
Extending the Story
Write Your Own Travel Comic
Create your own comic about a trip that your child has gone on. Maybe it was a trip to the grocery store or a trip to a different country. Think about the beginning, middle and end of this story and then help your child recreate that structure in their own comic.
You can use a KWL chart to facilitate discussion about Antarctica and the things that your child saw in this story. Still Playing School has some great ideas about incorporating what you learn about this subject matter into a fun activity. Learn more about Antarctica and the animals that inhibit that area with Inch in A Pinch and Cool Antarctica.