Book Review–Three by the Sea by Mini Grey


Three by the Sea by Mini Grey

Dog, Cat and Mouse all live happily together by the sea with their household chores neatly divided.  But when a Fox comes ashore, he causes all sorts of trouble.  He brings tempting items from The Winds of Change company that will change their lives.  Dog’s gardening is criticized for only being buried bones, so the stranger offers Mouse herb seeds and new cookbooks.  Dog is encouraged to wear a new collar and is upset at Cat’s laziness.  Cat is shown how dull and repetitive Mouse’s cheesy recipes are by the Fox offering some canned fish.  Soon all of them are at odds with one another.  In the end, Mouse heads away along the shore, but is picked up by a wave and carried out to sea.  When Cat tries to help, she has trouble floating.  So finally Dog, rescues them both.  Now the lives of the three look very different, so was the Fox actually helpful or harmful?

Grey’s book is about cooperation, working together, and also outside influences which can be seen in different ways.  She has created a picture book that is not definitive about the Fox and his influence.  The nuanced conclusion offers room for discussion and speculation.  Grey’s illustrations continue to charm.  She incorporates photographs and cut paper art into them to great effect.  They have a whimsical charm that invite readers right into the world she creates.

Another winner from a great picture book author and illustrator, this book will be a great addition to any beachy story time.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Alfred A. Knopf.

Also reviewed by:

Book Review–Cat Secrets by Jef Czekaj


Cat Secrets by Jef Czekaj

This book is for cats only, so if you want to read it you will have to prove that you are, in fact, a cat.  The cats in the book are hard to deceive.  If you keep turning the pages, they will be on to the fact that you are not a cat at all.  They will test you.  You will have to meow.  You will have to purr.  Can you stretch like a cat too? And then the final test.  Can you nap like a cat?  This is a book that happily breaks down the fourth wall, celebrating silliness through a very interactive story line. 

Czekaj follows the likes of Mo Willems and one of my childhood favorites, The Monster at the End of This Book, as he allows the audience into the book and to feel as if they have input into the storyline.  His very simple illustrations have a modern feel to them.  They let the humor stand on its own and don’t oversell it at all. 

This is a book that will read aloud extremely well.  It’s one that I would save for that final book of a story time because it will stop the wiggles immediately.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Also reviewed by 100 Scope Notes and Creative Literacy.