The Field Mouse and the Dinosaur Named Sue by Jan Wahl, illustrated by Bob Doucet
My library has had its share of dinosaur fans. I remember my first year when I had several kindergartners who only wanted dinosaur books! They’ve since moved onto middle school and the number of students interested in dinosaur books have dwindled, but I still occasionally have one who asks for something about dinosaurs.
I came across this book when I was re-shelving books the other day and couldn’t help but reminisce about my first kindergartners (now 6th graders), and just had to take this book home to read.
The cover illustration of this book, mostly done in brown tones, would have likely caught their attention right away – a large dinosaur skeleton surrounded by a crowd of people. Some are staring up at it in awe, others are looking at other things. Perched high up, watching down on all of this, is a brown mouse. As I looked at the cover, I wondered what the mouse’s role would be in this story and was curious as to how the dinosaur got the name of Sue.
When Field Mouse’s burrow is destroyed by workers, he goes in search of the bone that served as its roof. However, he ends up getting trapped inside a box and winds up at The Field Museum. At the museum, Field Mouse continues his search for his roof bone. As he explores the large, overwhelming (and often terrifying) place, the readers get a view of the museum through his eyes as he sees different exhibits and continues to hear workers talk about the mysterious “Sue”. When “Sue”, a Tyrannosaurus rex, is assembled, Field Mouse finally finds his missing roof as well as a new place to build his nest.
This picture book combines a fictional creature (Field Mouse) with a real event – the discovery and assembly of SUE – a Tyrannosaurus rex whose bones were discovered in South Dakota. I love how the author tells the story of this event through the eyes of the mouse, who also served as a bit of a tour guide as he traveled through exhibits of The Field Museum in Chicago. Coincidentally, I will be visiting Chicago this summer for the ALA annual meeting and am thinking a visit to this museum may be in order! After reading this book, I went over to the Field Museum website and found pictures of the real SUE.