“If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk. When you give him the milk, he’ll probably ask you for a straw. . . .” So begins this delightful story about an energetic mouse and an accommodating little boy.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff belongs to the Chain or Circular Story section of the Touchstone Books. Chain or Circular stories have endings that bring the reader back to the events in the beginning of the story. Children will be able to predict events and see how one thing can lead to another – choices that are made affect the outcome of events.
One of my favourite books as a child, I always enjoyed the chain of events in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. At the beginning of the story, a mouse is given a cookie. From there, the story outlines the events that result from this. After the cookie, the mouse wants a glass of milk, then a straw for the milk, a napkin to clean up, a mirror to check for a milk moustache, and so on and so forth until at the end of the book the mouse asks for another glass of milk, and then a cookie. The whole story is a long chain of events that resolve in a circular manner bringing the initial events from the beginning, to the end. Books such as If You Give a Mouse a Cookie engage students in the idea of cause and effect, and are one of the easier forms to use with beginning writers.
Time: 1 hour
Story flash cards – e-mail me if you would like the flashcards.
Bring the students into a group and read the book out loud. Explain about a chain/circular story, that the event from the beginning is also the event at the end of the story. Talk about how the events in a chain follow on logically from each other. As you read the story, ask the students to predict what the mouse might want next:
–If the mouse wants a glass of milk, what might he want next?
Once the story is read, instruct students that they will be playing a game to see how much of the story they remember. The game will be acted out, so students can get up and active. Previous to reading the story, you should have gathered/made flashcards with each item the mouse wants written on them. Hand the flashcards out to the students and then instruct them on how to play the game.
The teacher is the instructor in the game. The students all have a flashcard with an item on it. Get the students to stand up around the classroom with their flashcards. The student who has the “if you give a mouse a cookie” flashcard begins the line – the student with “he will want a glass of milk” comes next, and so on. As the instructor, you will read out the parts of the story in between the items. Let students place themselves in order to see how well they listened and understood the story. Allow them to change places and move around the line as they feel they need to, but make sure to keep them focused on the lesson.
Alternate: create flashcards for one of the other books in the series, like If You Give a Pig a Pancake. Have the students try to place themselves in the right order, write it down, and then read the story to see if they got it right, just from following logically conclusions and what they know of the previous book.