The Mouse that Brought the House Down
Since early March, our entire school community has been buzzing with excitement over a chapter book called A Mouse Called Wolf, by Dick King-Smith, this year’s One School, One Book pick. Every scholar in our kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade classes, along with our teachers and office staff, read the book over the course of two weeks. Other elementary schools in the network read the book too.
By last Friday, the scholars were nearing the end of the book. But we didn’t want the book to end and decided to add to the story of Wolf and Mrs. Honeybee. So during our Community Circle celebration for scholars and their families in the school gym, we announced there was one more chapter left to read — a chapter we wrote, titled “Wolf and Mrs. Honeybee Go to Hollywood.”
Weeks earlier, our principal, Jonathan Dant, had challenged us to think of creative ways to get every scholar excited about reading this book. It is the tale of a tiny mouse named Wolfgang Amadeus (nicknamed Wolf) who discovers he has a talent for singing when Mrs. Honeybee, the elderly lady of the house, plays the piano one day. Mr. Dant’s idea of writing an additional chapter caught fire with the whole team.
Mr. Dant’s idea of writing an additional chapter caught fire with the whole team.
Our next challenge was to come up with a plot that would resonate with our scholars, who love music and dance, and that would convey the story’s message that talent trumps looks. So I proposed a story involving Wolf and Mrs. Honeybee appearing on the television singing competition The Voice. Megan Andersen, the school’s operations manager, deserves a ton of credit for spinning this idea into a beautiful tale. You can read the entire chapter she wrote below.
Last Friday, we surprised everybody at Community Circle with a comedic performance. Our business operations manager, Leah Robertson, donned mouse ears to play the role of Wolf. I dug up a gray wig to look like Mrs. Honeybee. In our story, Mrs. Honeybee walks on stage at The Voice and places Wolf on a piano key. No one can see him sing, so no one knows he is a mouse.
For the school production, Ms. Robertson and I lip-synched the ’80s hit song Don’t You (Forget About Me) for Mr. Dant and three other staff members, who played the judges. They sat with their backs to us, just like the judges do on The Voice so they won’t be influenced by the singer’s appearance — only by the contestant’s voice. When the judges heard Wolf’s beautiful voice, the four of them turned around, indicating their interest in coaching Wolf.
Our show ended with the audience helping Mrs. Honeybee choose the judge who would coach Wolf and help him win the competition. So we asked the scholars and their parents to cheer for their favorite judge. The gym exploded with laughter and cheers. One parent said later she was laughing so hard she couldn’t hold up her camera to take pictures. The vote was close but, in the end, the scholars chose Mr. Dant to be Wolf’s mentor.
I hope these last two weeks reminded our scholars how much fun they can have reading and how great books can fuel our imaginations and inspire us in creative ways. It’s easy to put down a book after finishing the last page, but a great book like the one our school read can open up many possibilities and bring people closer together.
“Wolf and Mrs. Honeybee Go to Hollywood”
By The Success Academy Bensonhurst Staff
Wolfgang Amadeus Mouse, despite his appearance, was an amazing singer. He and Mrs. Honeybee, the lady of the house, spent hours together singing and playing the piano. When they weren’t composing music, they were watching their favorite reality show, The Voice.
One day, Mrs. Honeybee got an idea. “Wolf,” she said, “you are better than any of the singers on this show. The world should know of your talents. We should audition!”
Wolf thought about this for a moment. Just imagine if the winner of The Voice ended up being a little mouse with a great name. Wolf squeaked in agreement.
One month later, Wolf found himself hiding in Mrs. Honeybee’s pocket as they entered blind auditions for The Voice. He was nervous. How would the audience and the judges react to a mouse contestant? “You’ll be great Wolf!” Mrs. Honeybee whispered. “You’re the best singer I know!”
The host’s voice boomed through the arena. “And next up, Wolfgang Amadeus accompanied by Mrs. Honeybee!” Wolf took a deep breath from inside Mrs. Honeybee’s pocket before she stepped out on stage and made her way to the piano. When she sat down at the piano, she reached into her pocket and gently placed Wolf above middle C.
The audience was too far way to see what was happening, but they knew something wasn’t right. “Wasn’t this going to be a duet?” one asked. “Where is the other person?” asked another.
Mrs. Honeybee looked at Wolf and smiled. Wolf gently nodded his head, and Mrs. Honeybee started the opening chords to Don’t You (Forget About Me). Wolf opened his mouth and started to sing.
The audience was in awe as Wolf’s voice filled the arena. “Who is singing?” came whispers from the audience. “Where is that coming from?” They all craned their necks, trying to see where the voice was coming from.
As Wolf’s song continued, the first two judges pushed their buttons and turned around. They, too, peered at the stage, trying to find the mysterious singer. As Wolf started the final chorus, the other two judges eagerly hit their buzzers.
The crowd drew in a breath as a cameraman moved on stage, zooming in on Wolf. The audience gasped in amazement as images of Wolf singing filled the arena TVs.
The judges were in awe. How could a voice this amazing come from a mouse? “We want you on our team!” said all four judges. Wolf and Mrs. Honeybee couldn’t believe it! All four judges wanted them! Wolf and Mrs. Honeybee had a tough decision, but they knew who would give them the best advice.
“We would like the audience to help us decide!” said Mrs. Honeybee. The host nodded in approval.
“Okay, audience,” he said. “If you would like Wolf and Mrs. Honeybee to be on Ms. Foster’s team, please cheer as loud as you can…If you would like Wolf and Mrs. Honeybee to be on Mr. McSorley’s team, cheer as loud as you can…If you would like Wolf and Mrs. Honeybee to be on Ms. Lieberman’s team, cheer as loud as you can…and, finally, if you would like Wolf and Mrs. Honeybee to be on Mr. Dant’s team, cheer as loud as you can!
Well, congratulations, Wolf and Mrs. Honeybee! The audience has voted, and they would like to see you move on to the next round with Mr. Dant!”