Monday, October 11, 2010

Activities & Ideas: Five Nice Mice by Chisato Tashiro

In a brief search on author/illustrator Chisato Tashiro, I could not find anything more than what the book cover divulges.  I am thrilled to share this one with you because I feel fairly certain the author’s work will not be familiar to most people. 
Five Nice Mice (ages 4-9) is the first book I have come across by her.  The reader is instantly pulled into the narrative as five mice follow a mysterious melodious sound.  They find themselves at a frog concert but for frogs only.  Nevertheless, the mice are so enamored with the music that they sneak in.  They are caught and thrown out though.  Inspired by what they heard, they use items they find around the house to create their own instruments.  Together, the mice work at learning how to make beautiful music together.  The mice advertise their debut concert.  At a packed house of mostly mice, they notice some incognito frogs.   The mice warmly welcome the frogs.  On the final song, the frogs join in along with the rest of the audience.  Everyone is able to share in and enjoy the music.  From then on, anyone who wants to play or to participate is invited to join the assembly at each full moon. 
The illustrations in Five Nice Mice have a great texture and color which are appealing to all ages.  The unadorned language keeps the focus on the selfless characters and meaningful plot.  Many reading students will be able to read it independently.  The motifs that could be covered are cooperation, determination, compassion, ingenuity, and the sharing of music.  
Lesson Plan Activities and Extension Ideas for Five Nice Mice

  • Use a graphic organizer to outline how the mice felt at the beginning, middle, and end. Discuss the parts of the story, such as setting, problem, and resolution. 
  • Construct a pictorial time line that highlights the main parts in the story. 
  • Listen to a concert or symphony.  Discuss how the different instruments and/or voices work together to create something enjoyable.  Also, explain how it takes lots of hard work and practice to be able to play so well.  Check the public library for CD’s.
  • Give examples of times in history, the community, or in personal lives that one group or person was left out.  This book could easily be worked into a unit on the civil rights movement or any other group of disenfranchised.
  • Rewrite the story so the setting and characters are realistic.
  • Write journal entries on one or more of the following situations:  after the mice are kicked out the concert, while they are making the instruments, during the long days of practice, after the concert (mice perspective), and after the concert  (frog perspective).
  • Create lyrics (could be based on a tune already familiar to the students) that one of the main characters might have written based on any of the situations listed in the journal entry suggestions or described in the book.
  • Participate in unit activities on mice and frogs, such as crafts, recipes, songs, games, and so forth.  
Lesson Plan Activities and Extension Ideas for Mice

Lesson Plan Activities and Extension Ideas for Frogs
Also Check out this Frog Thematic Unit

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