Agate: What Good Is A Moose?

Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom. - Bahá'í Writings

Title: Agate: What Good Is A Moose?
Author: Joy Morgan Dey  
Illustrator: Nikki Johnson
Publisher & Date: Lake Superior Port Cities, Inc. – April 15, 2007
Suitable For:  Ages 4 and up

Opening Page:

What good is a moose?
Agate thinks to himself.
As he mopes at the edge of a lake. 
He looks like a Tinker Toy project gone wrong.
He fells like a big brown mistake.

He thinks of his friends as sparkling gems.
Beautiful, talented, bright.
Oh, how he’d love to shine like them.
Agate sighs. It just isn’t right.

Brief Synopsis:  Agate the Moose isn’t feeling very valuable when he compares himself to his friends (like Opal, Amethyst, and Garnet) who just happen to be the twelve birthstones. In fact, Agate feels “clumsy, disjointed, and loose.” But, like the jewels that are their namesake, his friends work to shed some light on Agate’s inner beauty and encourage him to let his strengths shine.
Themes:  Self esteem/worth, acceptance, respect for differences
Links To Resources:
Visit the book’s page here for Agate Activities. 
Check out the What’s Your Birthstone? page {here}.
Author interview and a sneak peek at the book on You Tube.
Read my review in the Character Educator.

Why I Like This Book: First and foremost, I love this book because my father found an author-autographed copy in a little repair shop in Green Bay; it’s so dear to me because Dad knew it had the kind of message that a counselor (and mom!) like me look for in a book. When Agate the Moose is filled with self-doubt, his beautiful friends help him shift his focus from his drab exterior to his "fabulous, knobbly, glorious, lumpity, terrific, bumpity, incredible, gangly, remarkable, splendid, magnificent, jewel" interior. Like Agate, the verse is sometimes a little awkward, but I think the message that "beauty is only skin deep" far outweighs an occasional rocky rhyme.

Since an agate is an actual rock, the author includes a page in the back entitled Agate, the Secret Jewel.  Let Agate serve as the perfect springboard for a geology lesson about rocks and gemstones. And, since everybody has a birthday, your students will love to refer to it all year long; whenever you celebrate their important day, talk about their corresponding birthstone and let them bring one for show and tell.

As a fun bonus for you, why not dust off those vintage Tinker Toys and let the kids build something unique . . . or Agate?  If you're too young to remember Tinker Toys, do yourself a favor and head out to a resale shop or garage sale NOW!

For more Picture Perfect Book Friday recommendations, visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog {here} and don't forget to check back on September 7th for another school year filled with amazing PPBF reviews. Thanks, Susanna, for this incredible resource.


    I am back among the living!

    Ahhhhhhhhh. Happy sigh. Another book!
    There are so many uses for this one.
    Aside from the many wonderful character links (Can't you see it being used with those growing-into-their-feet sixth graders?!), it is a wonderful example of rhythm and rhyme during a literacy lesson on poetry. And there is a science tie-in too, if you talk about gems and minerals during earth science.

    Yet another Amazon One Click gem (OOPS! hahaha!) for me.
    Which makes YOU a gem for recommending it!

    Happy Day, Barbara-Dear!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  2. Thanks again for another great book recommendation.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  3. What beautiful illustrations. I've never heard of this book, but am eager to read about Agate the moose.

  4. A book about birthstones - how clever! Thanks for sharing this.

  5. What a lovely message for kids about self-worth and self-esteem, through the eyes of moose. All kids can identify with feeling awkward at time. Love the cover. Great choice!

  6. Wow, this one sounds interesting. The birthstone tie-in is so unexpected! Thanks for sharing.

  7. This is a very intriguing sounding book, and the message is perfect -- something we all need to hear. Thank you!

  8. Great names and I love his blue antlers. I want to meet the other characters, too!

  9. This sounds like an excellent introduction to talk about gemstones and geology. Thank you!

  10. This book sounds so delightful, and carries such a wonderful message! Also, I love moose, even though I have yet to see one in real life! :) Thanks for sharing this one, Barbara!

  11. This sounds cute! I wonder what Agate's animal (or not) friends are?


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!