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Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Top 100 Picture Books #44: The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey and Don Wood

#44 The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey and Don Wood (1984)
40 points

Great to read aloud and fun to read again and again. Gotta love the expressions on the mouse’s face, the ways he “protects” the strawberry, and the surprise ending. Was there ever a bear? Is the narrator the bear? Are we bears? The kids get a kick out of it! – Gina Detate

I can read this book over and over again, and it still feels fresh and new with each re-reading. Little Mouse’s expressions are priceless, and we love helping him gobble up the strawberry at the end. Such a clever plot. – Audrey Johnson

There are three things I love about this book: the unique point of view (the reader basically becomes the narrator!), the fact that we never see the bear though we fear him all the time (at least I did at age 3), and the image of the strawberry wearing a disguise. I don’t think this is Don and Audrey Wood’s best known book, but it’s always been my absolute favorite. – Katie Ahearn

Because it works every time. 🙂 It was the first picture book I bought for my personal collection as a young children’s librarian, and I still, almost twenty years later, always have that copy in my office just in case there is a storytime emergency and I need to read aloud. – Laura Reed

Four blurbs!  Now we’re cooking with gas!  Inevitably this poll revealed big favorites that I was personally unfamiliar with.  Of course I’ve heard people gush over this title.  But somehow I’ve never sat down and read it for myself.  Now that I had an excuse to do so, I found it a charming tale.

The plot from the authors’ website reads, “First published in 1984, a picture book in which the Little Mouse will do all he can to save his strawberry from the Big, Hungry Bear, even if it means sharing it with the reader. The Little Mouse and the Big Hungry Bear are known and loved by millions of children around the world. Little Mouse loves strawberries, but so does the bear…How will Little Mouse stop the bear from eating his freshly picked, red, ripe strawberry?”

Beyond that there’s actually not a lot out there on the book.  If you go to the website of Don and Audrey Wood you’ll find lots of activities and secrets behind their other books, but not this one.  Methinks they don’t fully appreciate how popular it has remained all these years.  Someone would do well to inform them.

Missed this one.  Apparently they performed this book at the Scholastic breakfast in 2009 when the ALA Conference was in Chicago.  Huh!

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Aww, I love this book. One of my favorites for my toddler story time.

  2. This is my #1 favorite children’s book. I own it in hardcover, paperback and board book! I never gets old! There’s also a Christmas sequel that is great: Merry Christmas Big Hungry Bear.