Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This pert spin on the improbable-pet genre introduces what is arguably the goofiest and most endearing moose to come down the pike since Bullwinkle. A boy named Jack brings the moose home, and then spends much of the book trying to justify the animal's presence to his skeptical mother. He proposes a variety of moose-appropriate roles: clothesline, chauffeur, gardener, chef, housekeeper. But again and again, the outcome is so calamitous that the refrain "That was no use!" becomes a lesson in understatement. Mom angrily banishes the moose, then rescinds her decree when she sees that Jack is despondent; she realizes that "being loved is a very good use for a moose." The laughter here is virtually nonstop. Drawn in loopy, Mad-magazine-cartoon style, Robins's (Knee-High Norman) gangly, toothy moose is a hoot, whether flashing an inane smile (especially when he's handed the keys to the family car) or gamely trying his hand at domestic chores. Yet the nameless moose never overshadows the other characters, and the wide range of Mom's and Jack's emotions comes through. Waddell's (Can't You Sleep, Little Bear?) text is a model of economy, never pushing a comic point or the moral too far. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Jack finds a friendly moose in the woods near his house, but when he brings him home, his mother exclaims, "What use is a moose?" So, Jack tries to find a use. He hangs out wet laundry on the antlers to dry, gets the moose to act as chauffeur for his mom, then as a gardener, a chef, and finally as a maid. It turns out that this moose is no use at any of these things; in fact, he causes a lot of destruction, forcing Jack's mom to banish the moose from the house. Poor Jack is inconsolable without his moose. As his mom tries to comfort him, Jack discovers a wonderful use for his moose - to be loved, loved by Jack. So his mom calls the moose back. Robins has a lively cartoon style which is perfect for this story. His series of end paper illustrations of the moose attempting to fish really set the humorous tone for this book.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-In hilarious and exciting incidents, a moose attempts to prove his usefulness in order to remain at young Jack's home. When he acts as a clothesline, a chauffeur, a gardener, and even a cook, his total failures force Jack's mother to send the animal back to the woods. However, Jack's loneliness and sadness without Moose make Mom conclude that "Being loved is a very good use for a moose." The creature returns to live in a shack that he and Jack build together. Bright, expressive watercolors increase the humor and intensify the action of each disastrous episode. Reminiscent of Shel Silverstein's Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros? (Macmillan, 1983), Waddell's book offers a zanier story. Children will delight in the antics and laugh as they ask for another read. What Use Is a Moose? deserves a place of honor next to Waddell's Can't You Sleep, Little Bear? and Farmer Duck (both Candlewick, 1992). A love story that's not to be missed.-Patricia Mahoney Brown, Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, Kenmore, NY