photography by Ashley Thalman

Awhile back, even before landing back in America, I was approached by illustrator Jed Henry, to collaborate on a project for his brand new children’s book, Cheer Up Mouse. He showed me the trailer…

…and I was sold! How adorable is it? I mean a walnut playing squirrel? Too much for me. I have it on good authority that kids watch this over and over. What am I saying? I can (and did) watch it over and over. Even just for the sweet soundtrack.
illustration from Cheer Up Mouse by Jed Henry. ©Houghton Mifflin
So we got to thinking of a DIY that would best suit the book and we came up with a little play for kids complete with masks (click here for the masks), which we thought would be the perfect Spring Break activity. The book has 10 characters who each attempt to cheer little Mouse up with a sweet, well-meaning line, like so…
So, how does it work? 
Materials: 10 kids (or have a few kids take on multiple characters), Cheer Up Mouse book (available ON SALE on Amazon) for the script or win a copy–see instructions below, cardboard sets are optional, masks (click here), 3×5″ index cards
Step 1: With Cheer Up Mouse book in hand, use ten cards, 1 for each child to write down the lines. A few kids will get multiple lines. There are 18 lines total.
Step 2: Create the masks (there will be a follow-up blog post to this one showing you the step-by-step).
Step 3: Let the kids learn their lines.
Step 4: Watch the magic! 
I promise PROMISE you’ll fall in love with the characters. In fact, our Mouse for the shoot had a little “moment” when she needed some cheering up and all the kids were quick to chime in “Cheer up, Mouse!”. Presh.
illustration from Cheer Up Mouse by Jed Henry. © Houghton Mifflin.
Jed is giving away a copy of Cheer Up Mouse to one lucky reader. Wahoo!
TO ENTER: “Like” The House That Lars Built on Facebook OR “follow” on Instagram. Then leave a comment on this blog post telling me what you’ve done (please let me know!). Bonus votes if you follow on any other blogging platform. If you’ve already done so on all platforms before, share the post for entry. Contest ends one week from today, Monday April 1st.

Thank you to the wonderful wardrobe providers: 
Wunway Kids (THE cutest and hippest clothes!)
Caramel (UK, but they have a US presence too–wish they made big girl sizes)
Orfeo (also UK–beautiful stuff)
The Children’s Hour shop in Salt Lake City–the ONLY children’s store in all of Utah with cool stuff. Promise, we tried them all. The owner has impeccable taste. And they have great stuff for mamas too.
photographer: Ashley Thalman
sets: Tanei and Jed Henry
masks and styling: Brittany Watson Jepsen
photoshoot coordinator: Tanei Henry
assistants: Lindsay Barlow, Audrey Ellsworth
illustrator: Jed Henry
models: Titan, Modock. Karli, Nohea, Stella, Crew, Cole and thank you to all the terrific moms and families!
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest