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Author: Crum, Shutta
A fun and nearly wordless book about the challenges and pleasures of sharing.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (05/15/11)
School Library Journal (+) (06/01/11)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (07/11)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 06/01/2011 PreS-Gr 2—In this almost wordless story, two women, only their legs and hands visible, place an infant and toddler in a room by themselves with a pile of toys, while a dog looks on. "Mine," the toddler repeats as he picks up each toy and marches away, arms loaded. When the baby claims the one remaining stuffed bunny, the toddler protests, sending the toys flying. Sensing a fun new game, the baby hurls the bunny aloft, and it lands in the dog's water dish. Now the pup joins in the game, shaking the bunny and splashing water everywhere while the toddler throws his hands up in dismay and the baby chortles in glee. Soon all three are in the act, dropping toys in the dish, tossing them in the air, and playing fetch. Eventually, the dog retrieves all the toys, placing them at the toddler's feet. But in a surprise move, the baby takes its first awkward steps (depicted in a wonderful spread) and lands on the toddler, scattering toys everywhere again. The digitally manipulated pencil sketches, colored in soft pastel shades, provide child's-eye perspectives, with the large floor squares extending upward and bleeding off the pages. The two youngsters are simply adorable, and their alternating surprised and gleeful expressions, as well as those of their canine accomplice, are priceless. In a final scene, the women reclaim the water-soaked children in a room now much the worse for wear. Youngsters will eagerly participate in repeated tellings of this watery escapade.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2011 illustrated by Patrice Barton The curtain rises on this nearly wordless adventure right in the opening endpaper, when one adult (seen, as in toddler perspective, from the waist down) lowers a squirming baby to the floor, another holds a teetering toddler by the hand, and the two kids peer raptly at a scattering of toys while a spotted pooch hovers in the background. Thaose simple ingredients and the one word “Mine” then prove enough to create a toddler-iffic tale of physical comedy. Knowing, as do all little kids, that possession is nine-tenths of the law, the older child is quick to stake out the territory, grabbing up the toys one at a time and firmly identifying each of them as “Mine” to the cheerfully unimpressed baby. Possession proves transitory, however, as one emphatic gesture sends the collection flying in all directions. The toddler’s dreams of cornering the toy market are further shattered when the playful pup grabs a dropped ball on the bounce and the baby first snags a soft bunny-like item and then gleefully lobs it into the air over the toddler’s head. When the bunny lands with a splash in the dog’s dish, the delighted kids seize on a jolly new game of “drop-everything-in-the-water,” resulting in a drippy romp for kids and pooch. The dog then tries his paw at toy-guarding (with a “Woof” rather than a “Mine” and a play-bow that indicates this is all in fun). Finally, the baby puts the seal on the youngsters’ new bonding and takes a leap into the concept of possession by unsteadily wobbling on his/her own two feet towards the toddler and smacking the older child to the ground in a joyous embrace, hollering “Mine!” That’s all appropriately toddler-level adventure, with plenty of pleasing slapstick (toddlers celebrate gravity like nobody else) and mess. Yet the story isn’t just an excuse for enjoyable chaos, it’s also smoothly and neatly crafted, with some real conceptual exploration of the perils and shades of possession: no, you can’t have it all, it’s more fun when you don’t, and people are more enjoyable than things anyway. Given that there’s virtually no text (the only word other than “Mine” is “Woof”), it’s up to the art to do the heavy lifting here, and Barton’s art not only rises to the occasion but soars beyond it. The book describes the medium as “pencil sketches created digitally,” but that’s not a description that fully evokes the nuclear intensity of the illustrations’ appeal. Smudgy pastel-like textures, soft, organically uneven patterning, and friendly sketchy lines combine in figures that suggest American cousins to Shirley Hughes’ kids. Barton has more than simple cuteness in her armory, however; she’s a dab hand at apt details, such as the way the baby laughs with feet and hands wiggling in the air and the bulging of the toddler’s diaper-covering pants, and her compositions, occasionally highlighted by dotted lines showing the path of various kid-flung and dog-carried objects, balance the ebullient chaos with space and compositional order. While the adorable munchkins have definite adult appeal, their interactions will ring true to young audiences as well. Lapsitters will delight in following along with the proceedings without much grownup assistance, engaging in shared explanation of the kids’ actions, and flinging whatever they can get their hands on in literary celebration. (Publication information appears on p. 514.) Deborah Stevenson, Editor - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 07/01/2011 With just the title’s one word, “Mine!,” acted out and repeated on every double-page spread, this picture book captures the elementals of grabbing and sharing in intense standoffs between a small boy, a chortling baby, and a puppy, all shown from a small kid’s floor-level viewpoint (only the adults’ legs are pictured). The baby tries to grab the toddler’s stuff—his airplane, ball, giraffe, and cookie—and after the boy hurls them out of reach, the dog joins in the exchange, and things end up in his water bowl. Finally, in the cuddling climax, the toddler reaches out, and the smiling baby stands upright and staggers across to hug his friend: “Mine!” Of course, at first adults will turn the pages and tell the story, but toddlers will join in on every page and point at the slapstick action and snuggly fun. - Copyright 2011 Booklist.