I found The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear a year or so ago when meandering through the bookshelves of my local thrift store. I remember that day being a particularly good book haul day, as I also found numerous classics by some of my favorite authors. Of the books found, however, The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear has consistently remained a feature of my therapy sessions.

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear reads like a conversation between the reader and the mouse in the story. Rather than the narrator of the story explicitly describing a scene or the character in the story serving as narrator, the words on the page serve as one half of a conversation with the illustrations providing the mouse’s half. Because of this structure, The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear provides a unique opportunity for students to observe and analyze character response.

The illustrations do a fantastic job conveying the emotional and physical response the mouse has to the words of the reader. Cause and effect is descriptive and evident. Opportunity for inferencing and making connections abound.

Ideas for Therapy

Articulation

  • The /r/ sound in multiple positions is an excellent target. The words “red,” “ripe,” “strawberry,” and “bear” appear often, providing targets in initial and vocalic positions, and blends.
  • The /s/ sound could also provide a convenient target, with final position in “mouse” and blends in “strawberry”

Voice/Fluency

  • Basic carrier sentences can be used to describe the actions of the mouse, providing an opportunity for practice of voice and fluency enhancing strategies in a structured setting. Provision of simple sentences strips, such as “The mouse is _____________.” would be an optimal target.

Vocabulary

  • Actions are a key component of this book, though in the illustrations rather than the text. Carry, nod, smile, climb, pick, fall, run, dig, sweat, cover, hide, lock, guard, drink, sit, cut, share, eat, sleep, and rest are verbs that would be easy to target.

Grammar

  • As verbs provide a good source of stimuli, using a variety of verb tenses within sentences could be easily addressed.

Reasoning/Discussion/Social

  • The mouses’s emotional responses can be discussed throughout the book, as he moves from happiness to fear to anxiety to contentment. Analyzing what led him to each emotional response can reinforce cause and effect and looking at his body language throughout can target nonverbal language.

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear is a book my students have always enjoyed reading and discussing. They get such a kick out of watching the mouse try to protect his strawberry! It provides so many opportunities to target emotions and actions that’s in a wonderful addition to your SLP bookshelf!!