Mice and Beans

Last updated Friday, July 20, 2007

Author: Pam Munez Ryan
Illustrator: Joe Cepeda
Date of Publication: 2001
ISBN: 0439183030
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jan. 2006

Synopsis: Munoz's rollicking birthday tale stars one Spanish-speaking grandmother, one very long list of party preparations and a band of enterprising mice. Rosa Maria spends all week getting ready for her seven-year-old granddaughter's birthday party, and each day items for the party keep disappearing. So do the mousetraps she sets each evening to ensure the celebration isn't ruined by uninvited guests. Cepeda wraps up this festive volume by showing how the well-meaning vandals have put their loot to use by throwing a mouse party of their own.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Looking at the cover, what do you think the story is about
•  Do you like parties with your family? Why?
•  What is your family?s special way to celebrate birthdays? Do different families celebrate differently? How?
•  What do you want for your birthday?
•  Look at the words at the end of the book and the translations - does everyone know what these words are?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What are the days of the week? What does Rosa Maria do each day?
•  What is happening to the items that Rosa Maria is losing? Does she care? Why not?
•  What does Rosa Maria do to prepare for the birthday party?
•  Look at the last full pages of the book - Can you see all of the items the mice took? How are they used now?

Craft ideas:
•  Volunteers: write recipes from the back of the book on pieces of paper for the children. Have the children glue the recipes to other pieces of paper, and then decorate.
•  Draw your favorite way to celebrate your birthday, or make a birthday card for someone special.

Special activities:
•  Bring ahead option -- a pinata!
•  Divide into two teams. Read off an item that the mice took, and when you call on each team, have them call out something that that item could be used for.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!