A Mouthful of Minnows by John Hare

A Mouthful of Minnows by John Hare
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: Contemporary, Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

At the bottom of the pond, Alphonso the snapping turtle opens his mouth wide, wiggles his worm-like tongue, and waits patiently for breakfast. He barely notices a measly minnow, but he’s thrilled when the entire school shows up. Alphonso’s perseverance has paid off! But when a whole family of minnows arrives to celebrate together, Alphonso’s true character emerges, and he has second thoughts about the breakfast he’s been waiting for.

Acclaimed author-artist John Hare’s artwork is textured, playful, educational, and energetic, bringing the depths of the underwater setting to life. A Mouthful of Minnows is a surprising and heartwarming picture book that is a great choice for story time and bedtime.

Each summer the State of Florida releases a list of approved books for students to read while on summer break. I am a nanny of a six-year-old girl going into first grade. The first book we chose to read was A Mouthful of Minnows because we love of fishing in the inter coastal waterway.

We didn’t read the synopsis, so we assumed the story was about fishing based on the title and the book cover. We were surprised that the main character was Alphonso, an alligator snapping turtle. The plot was about Alphonso waiting for his breakfast to come.

Our attention was caught immediately when we read that he sits on the bottom of the pond with his mouth wide open, wiggling his worm-like tongue. He stays like that waiting for a fish to swim by so he can capture it. We paused reading the story because we were both questioning if this was true. So we Googled “turtle with worm-like tongue”. Sure enough, this was true! I appreciated learning a new fun fact.

We resumed reading the heartwarming story about Alphonso patiently waiting for his breakfast when a school of minnows swam near his mouth. Alphonso overhears what the minnows were saying, and this is where the reader learns about generosity, empathy and friendship.

The illustrator for A Mouthful of Minnows is also the author, John Hare. I found each page to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. I enjoyed perusing each page as I read the story out loud.

If the little girl that I nanny for asks for me to read a book a second time, then I know it is a good book. We read this book multiple times before we had to return it to the library. That testimony speaks volumes.

Our Summer 2023 reading log started with a great book. We easily recommend reading A Mouthful of Minnows.

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