Mossy by Jan Brett

I have read “The Mitten” hundreds of times to my own children and with the kids I have worked with over the years. The beautiful story and illustrations lent themselves to many language lessons, so I was excited to find Brett’s newest book, “Mossy” filled with her signature intricately detailed illustrations both framing each page as well as the center’s picture representing the story. Mossy, an eastern box turtle grew “curlicues of moss on her carapace” which served as home to a growing garden of ferns, wildflowers and mushrooms. Such a unique turtle does not go unnoticed and is picked up by a museum curator and placed in their viewing pavilion. Her little friend, Tory recognizes Mossy’s sadness at being confined and pleads her case to the museum director. Mossy gains her freedom through a clever twist and is again released back to nature. Brett’s use of rich vocabulary–“ferns unfurled,” “water rippled,” “open glade,” and “reflecting pool” build vocabulary and provide for conversation about the story. Each two-fold illustration is framed by objects within a category from butterflies, moss, mushrooms, and beetles to rocks and seeds, providing a wonderful lesson to practice description. Take a walk through this book to be refreshed by nature.

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