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Mudkin

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Overview

"Rain's gone! Time to play!" commands the queen. Well, she's not really a queen—just an ordinary girl who has an extraordinary day. She meets Mudkin, a friendly creature who whips up a robe and crown for her. Away they go to meet Her Majesty's subjects. Even if the kingdom lasts only until the next rain shower, the crown Mudkin gives her is forever. In his unmistakable style, Caldecott-winning artist Stephen Gammell creates an ode to the most potent of childhood mixtures: mud and imagination.

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Overview

"Rain's gone! Time to play!" commands the queen. Well, she's not really a queen—just an ordinary girl who has an extraordinary day. She meets Mudkin, a friendly creature who whips up a robe and crown for her. Away they go to meet Her Majesty's subjects. Even if the kingdom lasts only until the next rain shower, the crown Mudkin gives her is forever. In his unmistakable style, Caldecott-winning artist Stephen Gammell creates an ode to the most potent of childhood mixtures: mud and imagination.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sure, rain showers bring flowers, but they also bring plenty of mud—the star of Gammell's (How the Nobble Was Finally Found) exuberant picture book romp. Post-rain, a girl heads out to play, queen of her stuffed animals and all that she surveys. When a mud creature with a turnip-shaped head splashes up out of a puddle, the girl gains a new pal and a new subject who provides her with a grand robe, crown, carriage, and even a castle, all made out of the brown muck. As another thunderstorm blows in, Mudkin and his fantastic kingdom wash away—leaving only the girl's crown. In this nearly wordless volume, readers see Mudkin's communiqués as splotches of mud, while the girl's speech is one side of a conversation that makes perfect sense to her. ("Hi... what's your name?" "Mudkin... it's nice to meet you"). Gammell's signature style—wispy, loose lines with paint splatter accents—flows freely like a muddy daydream over the spreads. No doubt that kids will be checking puddles for impish, fun-loving Mudkins of their own come spring. Ages 5–8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Dawna Lisa Buchanan
Here is a whimsical fantasy for younger readers about the joys of playing in the mud on a rainy day. A little girl rushes outside with her stuffed toys when the rain stops and indulges in a glorious burst of throwing mud all around her. A little creature pops up, and the girl asks its name. "Mudkin...it's nice to meet you," it replies. The child dons a cloak and crowned hat of mud and the two characters dash about the yard, creating a chariot, a castle, and then a host of other mudkins. The rain returns, washing away the mud and the make-believe game is over. Gammell's lively watercolor images leap across the pages, as dynamic and enthusiastic as the characters he portrays. The text is limited to a few conversations the girl has with her stuffed toys and her imaginary friend. Younger children will enjoy this lively tale. Reviewer: Dawna Lisa Buchanan
Kirkus Reviews
During a respite from the rain, a young girl heads out to play. With toys in tow, she holds court until Mudkin, an imaginary mud-creature, appears to make her queen of his land. The boisterous critter, with its turnip head and troll-like body, speaks only in mud splotches and dresses her in mud robe and crown. Together they travel to an earthy kingdom, but rain soon depletes her carriage, castle, subjects and friend. Left with just her diadem, she returns to her toys, still queen of her own invention. Done in a chaotic '70s ink-drawn, freestyle aesthetic, Gammell's artwork is reminiscent of Ralph Steadman (Garibaldi's Biscuits, 2009, etc.), with its blotchy watercolors and masterful control of the legibility of the wash within messy shapes. However, the story itself is muddy and mired in a lack of clarity. In its essence, it's a wordless tale that would have been better served by remaining so. The beauty of Gammell's meticulously hand-lettered text and the integration of Mudkin's "language" requires better narrative execution than it receives here. While clearly extra care was put into the production of this title, from the metallic highlights on the cover to the brilliantly illustrated mud, the end result is unfortunately drowned in detail. (Picture book. 5-8)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Mud holds a natural attraction for children it seems, and Gammell imaginatively plays off that premise with pages full of swirls and drips of brownish colors set against grays and blues of showery skies. As the story begins, a young unnamed heroine commandeers her stuffed animal playmates to come outside for a post-rainstorm romp. Before long, a splotch of mud catapults skyward, announcing the arrival of Mudkin, a brown, babylike creature whose head resembles a Hershey's chocolate kiss. Naming the child his Queen, Mudkin invites her to play; soon she, too, is reveling in the wet dirt, wearing a mud cape and a crownlike pointy hat. What a day they have—complete with a carriage ride to a castle (mud-built, of course) and a welcome by a bevy of little Mudkins. When the returning rain washes Mudkin and her earthy costume away, the youngster gathers up her toy friends, the left-behind hat, and, with happy memories of a magical day, heads home. For Mudkin's few phrases, Gammell cleverly places mud splats for dialogue, nudging children into supplying their own interpretations. There's little text; the artist's energetic style and rain-splashed colors carry the story forward.—Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761357902
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Gammell is the illustrator of numerous children's books, including the Caldecott Medal-winning Song and Dance Man and two Caldecott Honor books, The Relatives Came and Where the Buffaloes Begin. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with his wife

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Whimisical tale of mud and rain~!!

    Mudkin is a book of few words, relying on the wonderfully illustrated pictures to tell the tale of a young girl playing in the puddles after it rains. The rain is gone and the queen commands that everyone plays, well, she's not really a queen but in her imagination she meets a friendly little mud baby who creates for her a crown and a cape and takes her to the meet her subjects in the Mudkin's kingdom.

    Playing in the rain puddles and the mud can be fun and the young lady takes us on a fantastical journey through the mud and the rain to meet the people that live there. The more it rains, the more people arrive to greet her and when the rain goes away, she calls it a day and returns home from her playing.

    I think little children just starting to look at books would enjoy this story, with few words to discourage them, they are able to explore their imagination as they view its pages and wonder what life is like in the land of the Mudkins.

    SYNOPSIS:
    "Rain's gone! Time to play!" commands the queen. Well, she's not really a queen - just an ordinary girl who has an extraordinary day. She meets Mudkin, a friendly creature who whips up a robe and crown for her. Away they go to meet Her Majesty's subjects. Even if the kingdom lasts only until the next rain shower, the crown Mudkin gives her is forever.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    beautiful watercolors

    Stephen Gammell's book, Mudkin, follows a young girl as she heads out to play after the rain. It's a testament to the imagination and creativity unleashed by the opportunity for a child to play with good, old-fashioned mud. Text is limited in the book, only occurring on a few pages. However, in my opinion, the book would be better off without any text at all. It's merely distracting from the gorgeous water color illustrations. This is a wonderful book to look at with your young child and let them be the storyteller.

    Disclaimer: A complimentry copy was provided by Carolrhoda Books.

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