Agate: What Good Is a Moose?

Agate Cover

Title: Agate: What Good Is a Moose?
Authors: Joy Morgan Dey and Nikki Johnson
Publisher: Lake Superior Port Cities Inc.
Type: Picture Book
Level: Ages 4-8
Pages: 32

Digging for a book to help infuse character into a science lesson or vice versa, I recently unearthed this clever rhyming story about an awkwardly gangly moose named Agate.

As he compares himself to his beautifully polished friends, all of whom have sparkly names of birthstone gems and correspondingly brilliant characteristics, Agate asks, “What good is a moose?”

To assuage his self-doubt, Agate’s friends challenge him to look inward for what makes him shine. Much like trying to find plain agate rock, whose beauty is found within, Agate the Moose has to do some excavating to find the qualities that make him every bit as valuable as his treasured friends.

Agate’s message reinforces the adage, “Beauty is only skin deep” and spotlights the importance of valuing one’s inner character.

As a counselor, I enjoyed this jewel as a springboard for self-reflection. Who among us hasn’t questioned our reason for being?

An extension writing exercise can pose the question, “What makes me shine?” or “What do I look for in friends?” This gem will supplement the calendar lesson for younger students as each of Agate’s 12 friends represents a birthstone.

The information in the back about gemstones will serve as a geology lesson as well. This book is a diamond in the rough that I enthusiastically recommend adding to your collection.

Barbara Gruener is a school counselor at Westwood Elementary, Friendswood, TX, a finalist in the 2008 CEP National School of Character Award.