Title: The Moose at the Manger
Authors: Lisa A. Tortorello
Year published: 2012
Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC
Number of pages: 24
Recommended age: 3+
Son Rating: ★★★★½
Mom Rating: ★★★★☆
Reviewed by: Renee and Dominic (Mother and Son)
Summary (Amazon): When Muse the Moose accidentally wanders off from her family, she becomes lost in the forest. She luckily finds a friend in Star Bright, the brightest star in the sky, who leads her on a fantastic journey. When Muse becomes The Moose at the Manger, she realizes her most important journey is yet to come.
1. What is the story about? This story is about a moose who gets lost and meets Star Bright who takes her to find Mom and Dad after she meets Baby Jesus.
2. What do you think of the cover and/or the pictures in the book? The pictures in the book are good and I like them.
3. Who is/are the main character(s)? The main character is Muse the Moose and I liked her.
4. Have you experienced anything in your life like what happens in this book? I did get lost one time in Safeway and couldn’t find my Mom. I was scared because people were following me.
5. What is your favorite part of the story? My favorite part of the story is when Star Bright flies Muse to different parts of the world. That looked like fun.
6. What is your least favorite part of the story? I didn’t like when the moose got lost because it made me sad.
7. Are there parts of the story that don’t make sense? No, everything made sense.
8. How did the story make you feel? I felt sad when Muse was lost, but then I felt good when Star Bright brought her to her parents.
9. What lessons did you learn from this story? Don’t wander off by yourself and family is important.
10. Who do you think would like this book? I think boys and girls under 41 would like it because my Mom is 41 [actually I’m 29 forever, thank you very much] and she liked it.
What I liked and disliked: The Moose at the Manger tells the story of Muse a young Moose who gets separated from her family on a cold and snowy Christmas Eve. She is found by Star Bright – a magical star who transports Muse through time and space to witness the birth of Baby Jesus. As Muse becomes reunited with her family, we are reminded of the real miracle of Christmas and the joy and love shared within families.
Lisa Tortorello brings a unique twist to the story of Christmas by introducing us to Muse the Moose, who is brought magically before Christ the night he is born; thus the Moose at the Manger. As we approach Christmas, it is easy to get caught up in the holiday craze with excessive baking, shopping, Christmas concerts, and other responsibilities. It’s no wonder the true meaning of Christmas is often lost on children who are too busy making their Christmas wish list and debating whether Santa Claus really exists. Muse reminds us that through remembering and honouring Christ’s birth, we are celebrating His love and our love for one another. The book has a beautiful and important message.
I really enjoyed the illustrations in the book. Muse the Moose is a likable character that I think kids can relate to well. The author has developed a line of products based on Muse including a Teacher’s Guide, a colouring book, and a 3D version of the book with glasses included. For more information, visit Muse the Moose’s website. The only thing I would say is that some of the illustrations are repetitive; in particular where Muse and Star Bright meet. But, overall, the illustrations are bright and kid-friendly. I can see Muse being further developed as a character in another story.
One other small issue is that I felt that the book ended a bit abruptly. It ends with Muse saying “I was the moose at the manger”, which on some level makes sense, but I think that ending with a statement underlying the main message of the book would have improved the flow. Ending with the second last paragraph I think would have been better (in my humble opinion). Here is the last line in that paragraph:
The wonderful gift of love encircled them all as they gathered round the Christmas tree honoring the birth of Jesus and sharing in the joy of Muse’s safe return.
I think that sums up the book so beautifully.
My bottom line: My kids and I really enjoyed this sweet little Christmas picture book and we would read other books based on the character, Muse the Moose. I would recommend this book to children aged 3+.
* The Moose at the Manger was provided to us by the author free-of-charge in exchange for our honest review.*
About the Author:
Lisa Tortorello is a wife, teacher, and author. One of her favorite hobbies is collecting moose. She also enjoys reading, writing, and playing guitar. Most of all, she enjoys the time she spends with her husband. Her first book, a memoir, entitled “My Hero, My Ding” was released on December 7, 2010. Her second book, The Moose at the Manger was published in June 26, 2012. Lisa is also currently working on a new children’s book. For more information check out Lisa’s blog http://musethemoose.blogspot.com and http://lisatortorello.tateauthor.com
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