Saturday, September 1, 2012

Life and Language Lessons from a Mole Hole

“Mole had everything –
one small home, one bed, one pillow,
one shelf for books and one cup for tea.”

What more could a mole want? He soon found out when his friend Emerson came for a visit. “Two friends and one teacup did not work.”  After Emerson took Mole for a visit to his own home, where he had just about everything, it dawned on Mole that maybe he didn’t have much after-all.

And so Mole set out on a journey in search of “everything.” He tunneled and scraped for miles, popping up into swamps, caves, junkyards and shops collecting odds and ends like a rocket, an old piano, a cactus and just about anything else you could think of, until he had “everything.”  Then he tunneled and trudged home, tugging his new possessions along behind him. He crammed it all down his tunnel and you can imagine what it looked like. A two-page spread with an upward foldout displayed the chaotic collection. Mole now had everything but time for the simple pleasures he used to enjoy, like spooking birds or running though fields. With his newly cluttered home he was always “moving this, dusting that, winding, fixing and arranging.”  

I won’t spoil Jamison Odone’s story by telling you how it ends - you’ll have to read it yourself and I’m certain you’ll be glad you did. My students enjoyed this book and it promoted a lively discussion. They loved the illustrations and were thrilled about the idea of having so much “junk” (as they appropriately labeled the new possessions). Of course, that was not the point of the story but it opened opportunities to introduce new vocabulary as they selected items they wished they could take home (like the old skull, crashed plane, and a diver’s helmet). By the end of the story, they were beginning to understand the point. Most agreed they’d rather live like Mole had at the beginning of the book, in his snug little home, without the clutter and work it entailed.

Before our session ended, the children began telling about their own collections, like old Halloween buckets, a box of broken seashells and a closet full of outgrown shoes. One child added, “I have a chicken with an egg and I walk him in a cage.” It may not be a collection yet, (until the hen lays a few more eggs), but you’ll have to agree, it was interesting. 

My students looked at the teacup sitting on my desk and decided I should follow Mole’s example and collect just a few more things - four to be precise. They thought I needed four more teacups, not for tea, but for steaming cups of hot chocolate with a few mini-marshmallows to throw on top. It sounded tempting.

No comments:

Post a Comment