If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

In 1995, our community in N.E. Portland welcomed a Tutsi family who had escaped the Rwandan genocide. For six months, the mother, three-year-old boy, and one-week old daughter became part of our family of adults, dogs, and books. A favorite story was If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond. We all knew—even the baby—that if a pink-nosed mouse appeared in blue overalls, we’d offer him a cookie and invite him inside for a glass of milk. When he asked for a mirror to check his looks and a broom and mop for cleaning and a blanket and storybook for a nap and crayons for his artwork, we’d run to get them. He’d need to hang his picture on the refrigerator and the refrigerator would remind him how thirsty he was. We’d pour him a glass of milk. What is milk without a cookie? And, if we really liked the story, we could spend a very long and busy time inside that book.