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Agate: What Good Is a Moose?

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  204 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
Agate is a moose with low self-esteem. He feels inadequate and plain, like an ugly brown rock, especially when he compares himself to his beautiful friends who are named after birthstones. These friend help Agate to see that just like his namesake, true beauty lies within. Stunning original watercolors, a witty, positive message about self image plus bonus pages with birth ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Lake Superior Port Cities
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Dec 22, 2009 jacky rated it liked it
This book was alright. Most of the water color paintings were very beautiful and the overall message to be yourself was good. However, I felt that the gem stones didn't match the animals and that the ending was tacked on. Some of the lines and rhymes were fun.
Megan Mulder
Feb 28, 2017 Megan Mulder rated it it was amazing
"What good is a moose?" asks the title character, Agate, to his friends. He's disappointed in his outward appearance, comparing himself to all of his colorful animal friends. To him, colorful means bright and interesting characteristics that are highly desirable. Agate visits all of his friends, trying to find his place in their rainbow of colors; at the end of the story, he's delighted to discover that he's made up of a rainbow of beautiful and charming characteristics that make him perfect - j ...more
Bridgette Redman
Feb 13, 2012 Bridgette Redman rated it liked it
The children's picture book Agate is an example of how there can be too much of a good thing.

Agate is a moose with a self-esteem problem. She has many delightful and colorful friends whom she respects and admires. However, she is constantly comparing herself to them and believes herself to fall short.

"What good is a moose?" she asks herself, believing her to be dull and bland compared to her talented friends. She shares a poem about each of the animals from alligators to hippos to birds. Each
Jun 12, 2011 Sara rated it really liked it
Category: picture book
Author: Joy Morgan Dey
Illustrator: Nikki Johnson
Title: Agate: What Good is a Moose?
Publisher: 2007 Lake Superior Port Cities, Inc.
ISBN: 978-0-942235-73-9
Genre: rhyming book
Reading level: grade 1 and up

What good is a moose?
Agate thinks to himself...

Through the pages of this rhyming book Agate describes the wonderful qualities of his friends, each a special gem, and finds that he just doesn't meaure up. After all, his knees are wobbly, his coat is not sleek, he is not gracefu
Sep 28, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it
Agate would be an excellent text for teaching young children about stones and/or animals. It profiles one animal/stone at a time, presenting the information in a poetic and rhythmic style. In the end, the author conveys a valuable lesson about the unique skills and attributes that each individual offers.

My favorite part of the book was the imaginative watercolor illustrations. Each illustration is of one particular animal in one particular color. Using varied amounts of water, the artist creates
Mar 16, 2013 Gail rated it it was amazing
Have you ever gone searching for an agate? They have a very special appeal to many rock hounds. This wonderful story is about a moose named Agate. He does not feel special. He is surrounded by friends are all named after gemstones and appear beautiful to him. Agate learns that true beauty lies within. The watercolor pictures are the perfect compliment to the text. A page with informational facts about each gemstone and agates is an extra surprise. Agate has his own website with dot-to-dot, drawi ...more
Dec 06, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-s-books
I just saw this at my local independent bookstore and loved the story and art, so I bought it for my cousin's 3 yr old for Christmas. Bonus, they'd had an event with the author a few months back, so it's signed.Initially, I'd gone in looking for Wonder Bear, but they didn't have it. Maybe it was fate.

Anyway, Agate the moose feels like he's not as impressive as all the other animals (all with precious and semi-precious stone names), but in the end discovers that each has a role. In the back there
Carrie (envinoveritas)
Winner of two Moonbeam awards, Agate is a touching story that is both beautifully written and illustrated. A modern twist on the Ugly Duckling story, Agate is a moose that cannot see his beauty. Each animal is named a different stone and has special characteristics. Agate feels inferior and without purpose, but by the end of the story we see his inner beauty.

How I would use this in my classroom:
Agate could be used for a unit on rocks, and also could help inspire students’ self-confidence. There
AGATE is a story told in rhyme and is about a moose who feels inadequate compared to his friends. Author Joy Morgan Dey uses gems as character names, which I find lovely. In the back of the book are facts on the agate stone. Dey uses the agate stone to explain beauty, which comes from inside. Also included are the gems that are mentioned in the book as birthstones and how each has its own traits just as we do. Nikki Johnson's illustrations are absolutely mesmerizing. Her paintings, which appear ...more
Jun 29, 2008 Amanda rated it it was amazing
This came to me by way of Pixie Stix. I couldn't find it anywhere to get a closer look at it, so I special ordered it at the store. It is gorgeous! The text is fine- perhaps a bit message-driven, but the artwork is just fascinating. You can see some of it at, but the reproductions don't really do it justice. The flap copy says the art is watercolor, but it has a drippy, smeary quality that I associate with mixing oils and water, like when you marbleize paper. I'd love to know a ...more
Courtney Stempinski
This talks about a moose named Agate, who feels insecure in comparison to all of his friends. Using watercolor illustrations to reference animals and birthstones, the book tells the story of Agate finally realizing he has his own strengths too. His strengths are hidden on the inside, like his namesakes.

I like that this book addresses self-esteem in such a unique way, also that is put in a very local setting students would find personal. It also ties in learning about birthstones, which I feel li
Mar 25, 2008 Jode rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
I fell in love with this book from across the bookstore! The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous. Brilliant color, vibrant - they all but jump off the page. The author's message is essential for children (and some adults I know); especially those about to leap head-first into the world away from home.

I have to admit, I bought this for myself. It's on my inspiration shelf. Each time I read it, I must paint or sketch. Did I already say that I fell in love with it at first sight? Just because of
Amy Schmitz
Agate is a moose with low self-esteem. He feels ugly and plain compared to his beautiful friends named after birthstones. These wonderful friends help Agate see his true inner beauty. This book has wonderful images and has a great message about being yourself. This book could be used in a classroom if students are struggling with low self-esteem. It helps children realize that although everyone is different they still have something unique to offer that makes the world a better place. The words ...more
Britt Johnson
Sep 19, 2015 Britt Johnson rated it it was amazing
I simply love this book. This book is written and illustrated by Minnesotans. The illustrations are absolutely stunning, providing a great insight into gemstones and colors. The story follows Agate, a moose with low self esteem, who often feels overshadowed by his flashier friends, but learns to see his own personal beauty. This book is very heartwarming and would make a great story to include in a lesson plan that deals with self worth and friendship.
Breanna Shofner
Sep 24, 2016 Breanna Shofner rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Agate is a moose who feels left out. His other animal friends are all named after gems and crystals. He goes throughout the book wondering where a moose will fit into the pack. In the end, agate finds out that he is special because he is uniquely himself.

I would use this book in a Duluth classroom to explain how Duluth was formed and why we have agates now. It would also be interesting to discover which states and lakes contain agates.
Feb 09, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: K and up
This book has some of the most gorgeous watercolor work I have EVER seen -- drippy and brilliantly colored and alive with movement. For me, it lost a star for its forced rhyme and strange word choice (Lion is "like a Porsche with a Hemi inside"). This would be a good book for teaching colors, birthstones (contains facts about birthstones at the end), self-esteem, and loose, interpretive painting, but I'd feel like a dork reading it out loud to a group.
Jun 25, 2012 Wendy rated it liked it
"We're a malcontented bunch - Give us breakfast, we want lunch. Give us flippers, we want paws. Show us talents, we see flaws. Make us tall, we'd rather be small. Give us some, we want it all. Comparison can help us grow, but a little is enough, and so.. be glad they're them and you are you... each a gem in life's marvelous zoo!"
Sep 06, 2012 Liz rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2012-13
Reread this book in preparation for a new semester of working with elementary student teachers. All are special...all have talents...look what a little polishing reveals!!! Also going to tie this into my Petoskey Stone sharing!!! Great message. Interesting watercolor paintings depicting the various animal "gems."
Holly Thompson
This book could be used for so many different teaching moments. Birthstones, agates, rocks, or gems. Being beautiful on the inside or polishing yourself to be a hidden gem. Not comparing yourself to others. It's a beautiful story and cool illustrations. There is also non-fiction information about the gems and agates in the back.
Ann Green
Oct 03, 2015 Ann Green rated it it was amazing
Unique characters in a timeless story. Teaches kids about "don't judge a book by its cover" and also about rocks! Fun way for kids who have never visited northern Wisconsin or Minnesota to learn about agates!
Rebecca Gomez
Jul 16, 2015 Rebecca Gomez rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This book is a book about rocks. Or is it about animals? It's about rocks and animals! It's a clever book about Agate, a moose (and a gemstone) who doesn't realize his own worth. The illustrations are gorgeous!
Melissa Housholder
Poor Agate. He just doesn't feel special compared to his friends. Little does he know that he actually is very special and his friends help him figure this out. Wonderful book to help show how everyone is a "gem" in their own way! Gives a GREAT explanation of each gem represented in the book.
Jan 19, 2016 Jesse rated it it was amazing
I bought this book several years ago and apparently never reviewed it! Oops! I adore this book. The message and artwork are extraordinarily beautiful, and I love the rhyming scheme! Raspberry was locked on to the illustrations which is saying something as she is only two months old!
Susan Kosel
Sep 28, 2015 Susan Kosel rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It would make a great teaching tool for so many subjects. The illustrations are wonderful. And in the back of the book is information about agates and a section on the gem of the month. Very appealing.
Cara Mcmannis
Dec 11, 2013 Cara Mcmannis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is a story about a moose with low self-esteem. He is jealous of his friends who are colorful and named after birthstones. This would be a great book to use when teaching your students about self-esteem.
Oct 29, 2014 Melle rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who really like birthstones, people who like pictures
Gorgeous, breathtakingly-beautiful illustrations. Neat, interesting little device of representing each traditional monthly birthstone with an animal painted in its style. Story lacked cohesion from page to page. Not a bad read but not a very memorable or good one, either.
Lindsay Monson
In this book, it does a great way of expressing feelings through gemstones. It can show kids that they can have different feelings but understand that everyone goes through those feelings. In the classroom students could research different gems that were mentioned for science.
Aug 06, 2011 Paula rated it it was ok
Shelves: animals, 1st-grade
Agate and his animal friends discover how to find beauty in everyone--a whimsical tale and a treasure for all ages
It is difficult to lay the connection between the stones and the animals. Beautiful illustrations
Dec 28, 2007 Anna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
My dear friend Janelle did the production work on this book, so I might be a little biased, but I think it's a wonderful book and it has a great moral for kids. My niece and nephew absolutely adore it and have me read it to them every time I come over. The illustrations are amazing, I love it!
Great for broadening vocabulary! Also, recognizing everyone's unique attributes!
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I grew up in Austin, Minnesota. My dad was a meat packing plant supervisor and artist, and my mom was an elementary teacher and principal. I attended Carleton College, earning a B.A. degree in psychology. I served in the Peace Corps and then worked in lots of jobs, from picking apples to a stock brokerage. Eventually I returned to school to get a B.S. in technical illustration at Bemidji State Uni ...more
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