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A Chocolate Moose for Dinner
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A Chocolate Moose for Dinner

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  527 ratings  ·  71 reviews

A gorilla war? Car pools? Playing the piano by ear? It's no wonder a little girl is confused by some of the strange things she overhears her mommy and daddy saying. With his hilarious wordplay and zany illustrations, Fred Gwynne keeps children of all ages in stitches!
Paperback, 48 pages
Published January 6th 2005 by Aladdin Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1976)
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4.19  · 
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 ·  527 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Robert Owens
This is one of my favorites! I stumbled upon this at the beginning of my teaching career. Some class in Colorado or someplace had read it and then drawn their own idioms. I adopted that project and have done it ever since.

Fred Gwynne, of course, played Herman Munster. Each page depicts a different idiom. Each idiom is accompanied by a picture that shows the literal meaning of the idiom. For instance, a chocolate moose is shown as the animal moose made of chocolate.

My students have great fun read
Lisa Vegan
Feb 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children who know how to read & spell & know the meanings of many words & phrases
I just recently learned that Fred Gwynne wrote picture books for children. I really wanted to read The King Who Rained but I’m unable to borrow a copy so I started with this book.

The idioms and homonyms are what make the book so humorous so it’s best enjoyed by readers who know how to read and spell and know the various meanings of words. If they’re pre-readers, the illustrations will definitely help with understanding, but I think independent readers will get the most out of this book.

I think I
Charles Martin
Jan 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This hilarious book is perfect for introducing students to idioms. The book follows a young girl as she attempts to decode common idioms her parents use. Each picture depicts her highly imaginative, literal depiction of a phrase; for example, one picture shows a bunch of cars swimming in and lounging around a pool with the words "Daddy says there should be more car pools." The only downside is that the book was written in 1976; therefore, some of the idioms are a bit outdated. The message, howev ...more
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This book was a hoot and it was written by Herman Munster. Bonus!
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-alena
It was fun to read three books by Fred Gwynne this morning all about taking the words in homonymns incorrectly. The books are all very much alike. They all make me smile. They're a great way to show how crazy the English language can be and how difficult it can be to understand. Some are funnier than others. I may have laughed at this one most.
This book is so funny!! I love it. I read it to my class every year. They don't really get it, so I read it through first just to watch the looks of confusion on their faces. Occasionally, I'll get a look of recognition in the form of a raised eyebrow or wide eyes. Then, I read it again and explain things. They end up enjoying it, too, and then they understand idioms better.
Anna Bogetti
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I sought this out because as a child I was a huge fan of The Munsters, yet I never knew Herman wrote children’s books. This book is a delight and I look forward to finding more of his works.

Note: it isn’t a story with a plot-it’s a series of visual puns and it is hilarious.
I love books that, once the final cover closes, continue to live in minds and conversations. My favorites are those featuring wordplay, as this one did--and how often we readers can family and friends to begin to think of homonyms and devise sentences using them.
Ellie McGarvey
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this to the Kindergartners at the school I work for. A lot of them weren't sure what was going on but they thought illustrations were funny. As an adult, I thought it was pretty funny. I would definitely read it again to a group of kids.
Lisa Mcbroom
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fred Gwynne (yes of The Munsters Fame ) writes an amusing story of what a little girl overhears her parents saying such as the yummy chocolate mousse she literally imagines a chocolate moose for dinner!
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A funny introduction to idioms for elementary age kids.
Keri Keehn
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals
Fun book that focuses on phrases we say that are out of context.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little girl pictures the things her parents talk about, such as a chocolate mousse, a guerilla war, the arms race, shoe trees and a man on the lam.
Thomas Sauder
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This really isn't a children's book as all of the humor in it is over their heads, however, for some reason my 3 year old grandson likes it read to him.
Mrs. Ruigrok
The pictures in this book are dated but kids will still love the funny wordplay.
Feb 17, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: reread, favorites
one of my very most favorite books when i was a kid. need to reread it one of these days to see how it holds up :)
Jordan Brown
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-etl-2368
A Chocolate Moose for Dinner
Author and Illustrator: Fred Gwynne
Reading Level: Ages 4-7

Gwynne, Fred. (1976) A Chocolate Moose for Dinner. New York: Windmill Books

A Chocolate Moose for Dinner is the story of a little girl picturing the various things her parents talk about. She interprets what they say literally. For example, when her mother mentioned to the little girl that she had a chocolate moose for dinner, the little girl pictures an actual chocolate moose sitting with her at a dining table.
Kat Waller
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book does a great job at explaining how some children might get confused when certain sayings are said or play on words are spoken. The character in this book takes the sayings literally, or slightly misunderstands, and the outcome is quite humorous! Was a great laugh, and a good read for children who may be learning about play on words, or different sayings that are commonly spoken.
Mar 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I took a call from a patron today who was looking for a kid's book and couldn't remember the name or the title. All she could tell me was that she thought it was written by the star of My Three Sons and that it had to do with literal interpretations of sayings.

I read this book and The King Who Rained a million times when I was little. I LOVED them both, but this one was my favorite. Mom still tells a story about the first time I saw a real (though dead & stuffed) moose in a museum and how I
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
We picked this book from out local library.
I remember when I was a kid I read the book The King Who Rained and I loved it. And when I saw this book I was like oh goodness what is going to be said now and taken to be made funny.
K's favorite parts are the following:
1.) Stories like these drive me up a wall. And this is where the girl is driving a car up the wall.
2.) And Daddy says he's going to tell me the story of the tortoise and the hair. Being as the hair is suppose to be a rabbit and not h
Mar 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with older children
Shelves: humor, 2011, childrens
This is a funny book; it's a book that has been recommended for its merits, not just because of the celebrity status of the author. It's not really a story, but really a series of witticisms and idioms in the English language that might confuse anyone who hadn't heard them their whole lives. When we read this book, we described these phrases as things that would make Amelia Bedelia do something quite silly. The illustrations are quite fun and the only issue I had at all was that our girls weren' ...more
I know I read this as a child. In fact, more than once. As soon as I opened the book I recognized it--like an old friend. Especially the picture of the undertoe! I remember that part the most because when I first read the book, I didn't know what an underto[w:] was either, but I was pretty sure it wasn't that. :-)

What was an amazing discovery to me this time around (being older and knowing just a bit more now than when I was ~6) was who the author was! I had no idea he wrote children's books! It
This book talks about the different misinterpretations a little girl has about what her parents are saying. It uses several different play-on-words that turn normal adult language into funny visual images. I think this book is great for children to read because it uses imagination with normal every day language. We hear play on words and puns every day, it is interesting to hear the way children interpret it. I think this story could be a great read aloud before an art lesson in which the childr ...more
Lisa the Librarian
Nov 23, 2009 rated it liked it
I read this book as part of the Reading Passport program I developed for my school. It is from the Dewey 400's (Language)

The visual depictions of common idioms and phrases is truyly inspired! Although this is a picture book with very few words I'd recommend it more for children who are a bit older. The young ones might not understand the real meanings of the words and phrases used so would not get the humor and might even be further confused.
Mar 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
I wouldn't read this cover to cover as a read aloud since some of the idioms are outdated. For example, "row in a single skull" with a play on the word "skull" and "scull." I think these days many people wouldn't understand this phrase anyway so I'd skip that page and a couple others. I really enjoyed the illustrated depictions of "held up a bank, spent years in the pen, he's on the lamb." Overall, a great book with some funny idioms and great illustrations.
Nov 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
As a children's book this is a real miss in my book. It is more of an adult's book, but it is too simple to really be a children's book for adults. The premise is clever illustrations paired with idioms (some common and a few that are a bit outdated) that may confuse children (see the title for an example). It is a cute idea but my kids are totally confused by it and it takes me too long to explain all of the idioms to them.
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I remember standing in a bookstore with a friend who has a similar sense of humor and laughing until the tears ran down my cheeks over this splendid book for children of all ages. I bought several copies at that time, and gave them as gifts to people I was sure who would appreciate them, and who might need a bit of a boost.
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
A Chocolate Moose for Dinner is one of those children's books with adult sensibility. It is collection of synonyms and figures of speech that could easily confuse children and drive adults "up the wall." I'm glad many of these phrases, like "arms race" and "guerrilla war" have fallen from use. Another fun read for the whole family. Thanks Mr. Gwynne!
Erin E
Jul 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
I love this book! and if I can ever find a copy for my work resource it will be a delightful edition. I laughed the first time I read it, and love it so much, the children enjoy the imagery and adult enjoy the play on words.
Oct 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, children-s
I loved this series as a child! I thought they were hilarious, and the illustrations were fun and memorable. These books propelled me further and faster toward my English degrees than almost anything else I've read. :D
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Fred Gwynne was a well-known actor in addition to being a renowned children's author. Best known as Herman Munster from the sitcom The Munsters, Gwynne's books such as The King Who Rained and A Chocolate Moose for Dinner employed clever homonym wordplay for lighthearted humor that have delighted children for generations. Altogether, Gwynne published nine books over a long career.