Squeak!

A photograph of a book cover whose title is Squeak! written in bold black capital letters. The cover features an illustration of a small mouse sitting at the base of a pine tree at sunrise.
Squeak! by Laura McGee Kvasnosky and Kate Harvey McGee

REVIEW

Early one morning, a breeze tickles a little mouse’s ear and he lets out a squeak that sets off a chain reaction and wakes up the entire landscape. This cute story follows the squeak, as it wakes up a family of chipmunks, who run out of their hollow and knock some pinecones into the river, ker-plop! The ker-plop! wakes up some fish, who cause a Splish! Splash! that wakes a sleeping elk. Eventually, the sound makes its way back to the little mouse, who had fallen back asleep and is now wondering why everyone is up so early! This simple story with its beautiful illustrations would make a perfect read-aloud at home or for a classroom or library.

Reading Lesson Ideas:

  1. Onomatopoeia: Define/Identify onomatopoeia (Whoosh! Splash! etc.) Why do you think the author chose to use these words? Do you think they make the story more interesting? Why? If you have time, you can read the book again and omit all of the onomatopoeia, then talk about how the story was different without the sound effects. Try reading the story again to the group and ask the students to join in and say the onomatopoeia out loud with you.
  2. Sequencing: Print out pictures of the animals from the story (or photocopy pages of the book) and have your students put them in order from first to last. For younger students, do this as a class first, then have students work with a partner to practice retelling the story to each other.
  3. Cause and Effect. It can be tricky for students to tell the difference between cause and effect because we often say the effect before the cause (ie, the chipmunks woke up BECAUSE the mouse sneezed). I like to help students see that the cause is what happens first by using the sentence frame “_________ AND SO ____________.” (ie, the mouse sneezed AND SO the chipmunks woke up). This helps your students get used to saying the cause before the effect and makes it much easier to remember which is which!
  4. This book features animals that live primarily in the Pacific Northwest. If your students are learning about these animals, you can also read this book to accompany a lesson on the Pacific Northwest animals/ecosystem.

Reader’s Theater!

When I taught kindergarten and first grade reading, my students loved any opportunity to perform, especially if they could pretend to be animals. Bring this book to life by letting your students play the part of the animals while you narrate. You will need at least one student to play each animal:

  • Mouse
  • Chipmunks
  • Trout
  • Elk
  • Eagle
  • Bears
  • Wolves
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Bison
  • Badgers
  • Otters
  • Beavers
  • Raccoons
  • Snakes
  • Frogs
  • Bees
  • Foxes
  • Jackrabbits
  • Swans
  • Loons
  • Warblers
  • Ravens

As you read the story aloud, when your students hear their animal, they can call out the sound it makes. Trust me, they will be super engaged knowing they have a part to play!

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