Warning (and apologies to the Talking Heads): That is not your beautiful child. That is not your beautiful cat. That is not your beautiful anything. Author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers, a master at revealing unique perspectives in children’s literature, is at it again, and you’ll be glad he did. His latest picture book will have readers laughing and also pondering some deeper aspects of the nature of friendship, kinship, possession, and change.
If you think that’s too much for a picture book to tackle, just pick up This Moose Belongs to Me and see what Jeffers can accomplish with simple words and child-pleasing scenes.
Wilfred thinks he knows exactly what a moose should and should not do, and creates a long list of rules for the pet he names Marcel. Marcel, though, has a mind of his own, for which Wilfred forgives him, since, after all, the moose is such a pleasant companion.
Wilfred’s world takes a U-turn when he learns that “his” moose belongs to someone else. How could that be? Outraged, the boy races home but gets lost. Of course, it’s Marcel the moose who comes to the rescue. Wilfred then comes to realize an important truth: “[P]erhaps…he’d never really owned the moose anyway.”
Jeffers’s quirky, thought-provoking tale displays his characters in landscape paintings of the Grand Tetons, Mt. Hood and Wyoming’s Jackson Lake (credited to Alexander Dzigurski). By contrasting the grandeur of such natural beauty with the ridiculous predicaments of Wilfred and the wayward moose, Jeffers lifts this picture book to a lofty height of irony and humor. This Moose Belongs to Me would be a welcome gift for many a child (ages 4 to 7).
For more laughs, try other creative stories by Jeffers, especially The Incredible Book Eating Boy and Stuck.
Author Spotlight: Thoughts on Oliver Jeffers’ Illustrations (alittleinkblog.wordpress.com)