This Is a Moose

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
This Is a Moose Book Poster Image
Misfit moose defies expectations in funny movie-shoot tale.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers get a glimpse of some aspects of a film shoot and a bit of filming vocabulary, like using a clapper and saying "Take Two!" to start filming, yelling "Cut!" to stop, and "That's a wrap!" when shooting's finished. A jokey glossary at the back gives filming terms but defines them according to the animal characters in the book, such as "Camera Operator: A monkey who controls the camera."

Positive Messages

Follow your dreams. You can be whatever you want to be. Don't let others define you or your limitations. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The moose is determined to follow his dream of being an astronaut and won't give up. His grandmother is strong and won't be intimidated by  the director. 

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Richard T. Morris' This Is a Moose, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site), is a hilarious story of a movie shoot that turns to mayhem when the frustrated director, a duck, insists that his film subject, a moose, act like a moose. But the moose really wants to be an astronaut. All heck breaks loose as the moose's grandmother says she always wanted to be a lacrosse goalie, and a giraffe says he always wanted to be a doctor. The message is clear: Individuals should be able to follow their dreams, no matter what others think they should do, based on preconceived notions. 

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What's the story?

A moose is ready for his close up at a film shoot in the wild. "This is a moose," says an unseen narrator. But at the turn of the page, we see the moose in a space helmet (antlers protruding), and the narrator says, "This moose wants to be an astronaut." "Cut!" yells the director, who turns out to be a duck. "Excuse me, but moose cannot be astronauts." He tries Take Two, but it's interrupted by the moose's grandmother, who reveals that when she was his age, she wanted to be a lacrosse goalie. Take Three gets interrupted by a giraffe who says he always wanted to be a doctor. The silliness and mayhem continue, until the very frustrated duck screams, "Will somebody please find me an animal that acts like it's supposed to!!!" Then he looks around at his diverse film crew, which includes an elephant, monkey, kangaroo, bear, and more and says softly, "Oh." Then they all join in on the moose's impossible space mission.

Is it any good?

THIS IS A MOOSE is a whole lot of silly with a wonderful message: Follow your dreams and don't let others define you and your limitations. With humor and wonderfully comic illustrations, kids get the idea that they can be whoever they want to be. 

Illustrator Tom Lichtenheld showed in Steam Train, Dream Train how wonderfully he draws animals, and there's an impressive array here in the diverse film crew, not to mention the beret-wearing, megaphone-wielding duck director.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about bias. Has anyone ever told you you couldn't do something because you're a girl? Or a boy? 

  • What makes this book funny? Is it the words or the illustrations?

  • Have you ever thought about doing something that folks like you don't usually do? What is it?  Will you care what anyone else thinks of your choice? 

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