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The Children's Bookshelf: Bravo Bucket Head - August 29, 2022

Bravo, Bucket Head! is cleverly written by Helen Lester and delightfully illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. The heroine of this teachable picture book is little Mousetta. She is a very shy mouse who decides to walk backwards so that she will not see or be seen by others.

Mousetta thinks she knows who the “popular” mice are in her community. Jazz is dressed in a bomber jacket and cool sunglasses. Star is wearing a yellow tutu and Awesome, a sports dude, is wearing a jersey with a capital A for Awesome on it.

One day shy Mousetta decides to sign up for Dr. Gladpaw’s Outgoing Workshop. However, she decides to wear a bucket on her head when she attends. There she meets three others who have also covered their eyes and face----one is wearing a lamp shade, another is wearing a wastebasket and a third is wearing a blanket! It turns out that these are the very same three mice she thought were outgoing and super popular. Lesson one is: What we see doesn’t always tell the whole story.

When the shy friends go out for a walk, they hear a siren go off with a warning: “Foxes in the area! Run and take cover!” Mousetta courageously pulls the bucket up and away from her face and shouts to the others to “CHARGE” and they do! The illustration of the foxes running away is full of visual fun.

At the end of the book there is also a two-page illustration of a parade honoring Mousetta for her bravery that readers 4-8 years of age will enjoy. A large banner says “Bravo, Bucket Head” as she herself leads the parade---- this time without the bucket on her head. (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ an imprint of Simon and Schuster, 2022).

The Children’s Bookshelf is a production of WCMU. Links to the podcast and the Activity Questions can be found at Children’s Bookshelf dot org.

Activity Questions for Bravo Bucket Head

Have you ever been too shy to say hello to others? Have you ever been too shy to speak in front of a class? Think about this and if you were shy make a list of those times. How did you feel? Draw a picture of your shy self.

These “speak up and speak out” exercises will help you keep your voice strong. Speaking effectively so people can hear you and react to your ideas is important. Open your mouth, take a deep breath, and project your voice while saying the following statements out loud to a new child in your neighborhood or a new child on the school playground: Hello! What’s your name? My name is Sue Ann. Is this your first day here? Do you have any brothers or sisters? Would you like to play on the swings? Would you like to share my candy bar?

From your bedroom project your voice so the rest of the family who are in the kitchen getting breakfast on the table can hear you: Mom, I can’t find my tennis shoes! Dad, would you please make me some French toast? Little brother of mine, have you been playing with my computer again? Oh my, is that the bus already?

Sue Ann Martin is professor emerita of Communication and Dramatic Arts and the founding and past Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. She first became interested in children’s literature when she wrote her PhD thesis on the oral characteristics of the Caldecott Award-winning children’s books. Her PhD is in Speech and Interpretation with a cognate in Early Childhood Education. She went on to review children’s books for the Detroit Free Press, write three popular resource books for teachers regarding children’s books and the creative process. She also reviewed newly-published books for Arts Almanac specials on WCMU Public Radio. Her 2002 children’s books special for WCMU won a Merit Award in Special Interest Programming from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.