The Subway Mouse: Book Review and Art Project

Today I had the wonderful pleasure of teaching in my old school.

At the end of the day I took a moment to walk through the hallways and enjoy the amazing artwork. That's when I came across the art that was created by the first graders in Brenda's class (we used to be Grade 1 neighbours)!

Their artwork, which is shown below, is based on this endearing book by Canadian author and illustrator, Barbara Reid.

https://amzn.to/2UFkmPt

by Barbara Reid
Scholastic Canada, 2003
Ages: 4-8
Themes: Transportation, Urban Studies, Art


Opening Lines  
Nib was a subway mouse. He was born into a large family that lived below the platforms in a busy subway station. The mice called their home Sweetfall.

From the Back of the Cover
Nib lives deep beneath the city, in a subway station the mice call Sweetfall. By day, the trains thunder past. At night, the old mice tell stories of the mythical land known as Tunnel's End, where the air is sweet and the nests soft, but where scary, mouse-eating monsters roam.

One day, Nib sets out on a quest to find Tunnel's End. Along the way he faces danger, finds a friend ... and discovers a place more wonderful than he ever dreamed.

Why I Love this Book
  1. This is a very sweet story about facing your fears, persevering and following your dreams.
  2. It's also an exciting story with lots of action and a satisfyingly happy ending.
  3. The artwork is absolutely captivating! Reid's illustrations are made with Plasticene, acrylic paint and found objects. Her scenes of the dirty, grimy subway are so detailed and realistic, you can easily get lost in them.
Story Extensions
  1. Stop and Draw. This activity is done during the first reading of the book. Ahead of time, pick out two to four places in the book where you'll stop reading and ask the children to draw a picture of their prediction. For example, four pages in it reads: "Your babies are nibbling my stuff!" Nib answered. Then he had an idea. Send your students to their desks and give them five minutes to predict and sketch what they think Nib's idea is. Repeat this procedure when Nib has another idea, and then again when Nib catches his first glimpse of the end of the tunnel (predict what he'll find at Tunnel's End).
  2. Write a story about one of Nib's new adventures in Tunnel's End (just like Brenda's kids did).
  3. Create your own plasticene Nib. You can follow these step-by-step instructions by the master of plasticene.
Links to YouTube videos of Barbara Reid's plasticene art process:
Making Nib Part 1
Making Nib Part 2
Making Nib Part 3

OR you can go to her web page and scroll to the bottom and find the links there.

Below you can see the beautiful results from Brenda's class. And these were done by first graders! What!?!

The Subway Mouse by Barbara Reid. A fabulous book to share with your primary students. Come read the book review and ideas for extending the story, including pictures and links for a plasticene art project. by GradeOnederful.com

The Subway Mouse by Barbara Reid. A fabulous book to share with your primary students. Come read the book review and ideas for extending the story, including pictures and links for a plasticene art project. by GradeOnederful.com

The Subway Mouse by Barbara Reid. A fabulous book to share with your primary students. Come read the book review and ideas for extending the story, including pictures and links for a plasticene art project. by GradeOnederful.com

The Subway Mouse by Barbara Reid. A fabulous book to share with your primary students. Come read the book review and ideas for extending the story, including pictures and links for a plasticene art project. by GradeOnederful.com

Brenda said they followed Barbara Reid's video instructions very carefully to achieve these fabulous results. Instead of using illustration board, they made their little Nibs on canvas.

I'm just blown away by how beautiful they are.

Thank you for reading!

The Subway Mouse by Barbara Reid. A fabulous book to share with your primary students. Come read the book review and ideas for extending the story, including pictures and links for a plasticene art project. by GradeOnederful.com

There are more wonderful book reviews and activities at Susanna Hill's blog.

 https://madmimi.com/signups/129629/join

12 comments

  1. Mouse is so cute! And, I love the courage it takes for him to journey beyond what he knows. Special share with kids. Also enjoyed the student's artwork. Great to see it displayed.

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    1. Thanks, Patricia. Brenda's class did an amazing job with their art:)

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  2. This book offers children a strong message. If we never stretch ourselves to look beyond our world, what new things can we learn? And the illustrations are definitely fresh! I can't wait to dive into this book. Thank you for sharing it with us today. :)

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    1. Hi Leslie! You're welcome.
      That's a message I personally need, too. Now that I'm semi-retired I'm constantly trying to push myself to do something new.
      Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. The student artwork is lovely! I am a big fan of Barbara Reid's books -- they are all so incredibly detailed.

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    1. Thanks, Andrea! I'm also a huge Barbara Reid fan. Every time I look at her illustrations I can't get my mind around how long they must take to complete.

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  4. What a cute book and amazing student artwork. Thank you for highlighting this book.

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  5. What cute little mice - talented artists.

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    1. I think so, too:)
      Thanks for stopping by, Sandi!

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  6. The cover caught my eye! Such a lovely book and the artwork and activities are simply amazing!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, it's a cute cover, isn't it? Barbara Reid is very talented!

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