This cute, new Christmas book came out last year (I believe) but I was too cheap to buy it before Christmas last year. So, I bought it after Christmas instead…and am not pulling it out in the hopes of pulling together a unit study using this book!! It really is a very cute story, if you haven’t seen it yet, I suggest finding it! Maybe even a few libraries will have it by now!
In a nutshell, Mortimer is a mouse who cannot find a cozy place to call “home” inside the house he lives in. Finally, he notices a house that looks just his size! Little does he know what this “little house” (stable) is all about. But, after sleeping in the manger for a few days/nights, and then hearing the Christmas story told by the family who lives in the big house, he realizes just whose bed he has been sleeping in all those days!
So, here are a few ideas and activities that I have come up with so far! If you have anymore ideas to share, please leave a comment! Really, this isn’t a full fledged “unit study.” I’m really just using this book as a springboard to get our advent and Christmas season going…I won’t be reading the book 5 times or anything…this is more of a simple study on the nativity characters…a great beginning to our Advent season!
*This is an idea I had, but am not sure we’ll use…I think the following ideas under this one pertaining to the nativity would fit better with the advent/christmas theme, but I wanted to share in case anyone else would like to use this idea! Since this book is about a mouse, we could spend 1-2 days learning a little bit more about mice! If you look at the lapbook/unit for If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, there are a few components just about mice that we may do. (mouse anatomy, mouse facts.)
*speaking of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, wouldn’t that be a great go-along for Mortimer? And don’t forget about the Christmas book called If You Take a Mouse to the Movies! Super cute!
*Mortimer is kind of an odd name, we may take a day to discuss and learn the meaning of our names as well as discussing the names of Jesus
Jesus = Jehovah is generous, Jehovah saves
Mary = bitter
Joseph = God will increase
Mortimer = still water
Hannah = favor, grace
Emily = admiring
Caleb = faithful
*Since this story centers around the nativity pieces, I thought it might be neat to spend one day learning about each character in the nativity. We would discuss their role in the story of Jesus birth, read any Bible verses that talk specifically about that character, draw a picture of that person in our notebooks, read another picture book on that day that pertains to that character.
*After we have learned about all the people that were present at the birth of Jesus, I thought this gingerbread nativity might be something different to do, as opposed to the regular gingerbread house kits we usually do each year! Is this not the cutest?? As soon as I saw this picture I knew I had to try this with the kids!!
Books & ideas to go with each Nativity character
JESUS ~ My Birthday, Jesus Birthday ~ This is one of my favorite Christmas books for children! Sadly, it is out of print, but I do own it, thankfully! So, if you run across this book for cheap somewhere, snatch it up!!
For the day we talk about Jesus we will talk about what His name means, other names for Jesus, and what gifts we can give to Him.
Copywork verse (and this will probably be the verse we memorize too): Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
MARY ~ Mary’s Treasure Box is a sweet story about the treasures Mary holds in her heart…hay from the manger, wool from the shepherds sheep, gifts from the magi.
Read together: Luke 1:39-56, 2:20
Copywork: Luke 2:19, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
JOSEPH ~Jacob’s Gift by Max Lucado
Copywork: Matthew 1:24, “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.”
STABLE ANIMALS ~ For the animals, we will read the book The Friendly Beasts, an old English carol. I like the one illustrated by Tomie DePaola. We will discuss and look at pictures of the births of our kids and talk about how different it must have been to be born among the animals!
Copywork: Luke 2:7, “and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
SHEPHERDS ~ The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
Copywork: Luke 2:20, “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”
WISE MEN ~ The Story of the Three Wise Kings, another one illustrated by Tomie DaPaola. We will discuss the story of the wisemen coming to visit Jesus…we probably will also discuss how the wisemen didn’t show up the night of His birth like so many times we hear! I also have another book that is an illustrated version of the carol We Three Kings.
Copywork: Matthew 2:1-2, “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”