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An ode to muddy hands and feet, brown earth, and new grass Simple text and exuberant illustrations will make children and their grown-up friends want to sink their feet into gooey, gloppy, mucky, magnificent mud. Full-color illustrations

Author Biography: Mary Lyn Ray lives in South Danbury, New Hampshire.

LAUREN STRINGER lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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An ode to muddy hands and feet, brown earth, and new grass Simple text and exuberant illustrations will make children and their grown-up friends want to sink their feet into gooey, gloppy, mucky, magnificent mud. Full-color illustrations

Author Biography: Mary Lyn Ray lives in South Danbury, New Hampshire.

LAUREN STRINGER lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

As winter melts into spring, the frozen earth turns into magnificent mud.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The eye-catching cover of this cheerful homage to the coming of spring features a splendid close-up of chubby toddler feet happily stuck in "gooey, gloppy, mucky,/ magnificent mud." "One night it happens," Ray (Pumpkins; Shaker Boy) begins mysteriously. "...Someone opening/ a door will notice:/ earth comes unfrozen." Stringer, in her auspicious picture book debut, portrays a solitary child viewing the brown leaves that "loosen/ from their frozen drifts and run/ rattling in the flapping wind," then playing in a gigantic mud puddle ("Stir it. Stick it./ Dig it. Dance it"). The reader sees the child's yellow boots and red socks give way to muddy toes and a single, full-length portrait of the child almost flying through the inviting springtime air. The bold acrylic paintings burst from their full-bleed spreads like tulips, with skewed perspectives and scalloped, abstract designs representing the grass and clouds. If not in the same league as e.e. cummings's famous "mudluscious" tribute to spring, Ray's brief poem nevertheless captures the joy of seeing winter "Squish Squck Sop Splat Slurp/ melt in mud./ Happy mud." Ages 3-8. (Apr.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Steve Lavis looks at animals foreign and domestic with two Peek-Through Board Books. On the Farm follows the wooly sheep as he searches out who has eaten its breakfast. As each page is turned, more animals become visible through the die-cut spaces. The culprits are found behind the tractor. In the Jungle follows the same format, only this time a crocodile is in hiding. "Here I am!" shouts the crocodile on the last spread. Then he asks, "Who wants to hide next?" ( Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2What happens in the spring? Before the fruit blossoms, before the daffodils, even before the grass? Why, mud, of course. The earth secretly thaws, and one morning a child looks out the door and sees winter receding down a rutted muddy road. The leaves once trapped in old snow escape and fly away. Little puddles of water appear and the youngster takes off her shoes. Mud takes over the world. Feet in mud are happy feet. Hands in mud hold all the promise of green spring, soon to come. The free-verse poem evokes sounds ("squish, squk") and images ("hills remember their colors") and relates the action ("dig it! dance it!"). The first line, "One night it happens," may be the model for many students' future poems. Stringer's acrylic paintings give large scale to objects such as oak leaves that require nearly a full page to be expressed. The artist makes a pair of grimy feet jump for joy and feel good to be alive. A lyrical celebration of the cycle of the seasons.Ruth Semrau, formerly at Lovejoy School, Allen, TX
Kirkus Reviews
The unjustly neglected subject of "gooey, gloppy, mucky, magnificent mud" requires a unique perspective to transform it from the mundane to the celebrated. That perspective is right here, especially in newcomer Stringer's inspired artwork. The joy of a child playing in mud is tied to the change of seasons in such lines as "A cold sweet smell rises in the ground, like sap in the snow." Ray (Shaker Boy, 1994, etc.) uses spirited language to show a child's playfulness as the mud thaws and comes alive with spring. This blithe view of one of the building blocks of life can come only from close observation; the point of view is at ground level, where readers can visually muck around in all that goo. The transformation of winter frost to mud serves as a spawning stage for the green of the new season; it's a concept treated innumerable times in books but never quite like this. Wallow in it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756965587
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/1/2001
  • Sales rank: 781,201
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

MARY LYN RAY has written many acclaimed books for children, including New York Times best-seller Stars , illustrated by Marla Frazee; Pumpkins , illustrated by Barry Root; and Red Rubber Boot Day and Mud , both illustrated by Lauren Stringer. She lives in South Danbury, New Hampshire.

LAUREN STRINGER is the award-winning author and illustrator of Winter is the Warmest Season and the illustrator of many other picture books. She lives with her family in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Visit her at

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 12, 2010


    This story begins as a mystery would, leading up through descriptive illustrations and words to the subject of the story, mud! Something that is usually thought of as dirty and ugly becomes beautiful and sweet, stirring the senses. Objects such as brown leaves, frozen drifts, flapping wind, scattered stones, pools of grass and hills are made an important part of the natural world and wonders to be observed and enjoyed. Mud and all the ways to play with it stirs the heart of the child and creates a sense of simplistic play and appreciation of all things natural. The illustrations are wonderful!

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