Skip to main content

Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

I had been seeing glimpses of Mother Bruce by Ryan T Higgins here and there on the internet and kept meaning to get a copy. The cover art alone is eye catching, not to mention the title. Once I finally got my hands on a copy, I was not disappointed! Mother Bruce is a hilarious book that is a joy to read out loud, which I did repeatedly last week, to everyone from the pre-kinders to the fifth graders, and I'm going to read it again this week. The one downside is that, when I read out loud, I don't always get a good look at the pictures and Higgins's illustrations are magnificent. They evoke so many things, from graphic novels to comic strips to animation to landscape painting, and the facial expressions and body language of Bruce and the geese are priceless. 

Best, of all, Mother Bruce is such a smart, clever book. Higgins's premise brilliant and the way he tells his story is very engaging. Bruce is a bear who is a grump. But, he is a grump who has a fondness for one thing - eggs. Bruce collects eggs from all over the forest, but he does not eat them raw like other bears. No, Bruce cooks them into "fancy recipes that he found on the internet." When Bruce finds a recipe for "hard-boiled goose eggs drizzled in honey-salmon sauce," he grabs his cart and goes shopping, which makes for my favorite illustration in the book - Bruce, hip deep in a river, his cart filling up with fish.

Bruce collects his eggs, asking Mrs. Goose if they are "free-range organic,"and goes home to cook. A small hitch sends him out to fetch more wood and when he returns, he finds he is the "victim of mistaken identity!" Despite his best efforts to return the goslings, they have imprinted on Bruce and he is in it for the long haul, as you can see in my second favorite illustration in Mother Bruce on the left.

The humor continues as Bruce tries to convince the geese to migrate. When nothing works, Bruce forgoes hibernation to take the geese to Miami by bus. There, they "laze about at the beach in tacky shirts, sipping ice-cold lemonade, while Bruce dreams of new recipes - that don't hatch!" And, proving his is a truly gifted author and illustrator, the final pages of Mother Bruce show one of the geese plopped in the sand, staring at a newly hatched sea turtle who is gazing up at him asking, "Mama?" On top of all the other praise I have for Mother Bruce, what I, as a librarian, value most about this book are all the different conversational topics it brings up. When I read Mother Bruce, I get to talk to the kids about hibernation, migration, nursery rhymes, the difference between ducks and geese and egg preferences. However, my favorite question comes at the end of the book when I ask the kids, "Why do you think the author chose a baby turtle to say, 'Mama' to the goose?" This is always thought provoking and the answers range from interesting to hilarious. I can't wait to see what Ryan T. Higgins does next!

And, for those of you with kids in 2nd - 5th grade who are lucky enough to live in or near Kittery Maine, Ryan T. Higgins runs a summer camp!!! I wonder if he would let me crash it...

Source: Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…