The Story of Jumping Mouse: A Native American Legend Retold and Illustrated
by John Steptoe
The Story of Jumping Mouse is a captivating Native American legend. John Steptoe’s retelling and illustrations make it a very worthwhile read aloud. Magic Frog helps a plain, ordinary mouse when he names him “Jumping Mouse.” Immediately mouse’s legs grow strong and long and he is able to pursue his travels to Far Off Land. He doesn’t want to travel there just for food and water, or he could just stay with fat old mouse under the berry bush. He gains some magic from Magic Frog and uses it selflessly when he names blind Bison “Eyes-of-a-Mouse” giving Bison his own vision. He names Wolf “Nose-of-a-Mouse” when Wolf can no longer smell. Jumping Mouse has hope and a dream through the entire story until he himself is blind and cannot smell. Once again Magic Frog appears and names Jumping Mouse . . . Eagle. The surprise ending has a powerful effect on children.
There are probably many deep questions a teacher could ask about this story. Children will have many “Why?” questions for discussion. I just made a one page PDF and key: The Story of Jumping Mouse PDF