An egocentric preschooler (is there any other kind?) and an enthralled baby are placed in a room with a collection of toys and a bemused canine observer. Let the fun begin! The preschooler quickly lays claim to everything in sight: "Mine. Mine. Mine, mine, mine..." When the baby holds up the one thing the preschooler has failed to sweep up, the older child immediately tosses everything in his arms to grab it, declaring "MINE!" The discovery of the dog's water dish turns the story into a giddy, soppy free-for-all that culminates in the baby taking its (presumed) first steps to tackle the preschooler, while shrieking "MINE" in utter adoration. Crum (Thunder-Boomer!) uses only the title word (if you don't count a single "Woof?"), but the various inflections speak volumes about the comic dynamics of sharing. Barton (Sweet Moon Baby) occasionally uses a blue dotted line to trace the trajectory of objects and characters as they hurtle through the room. Her dizzyingly expressive digitized pencil sketches seem to be everywhere at once, continually reframing the action to make sure readers savor every gleefully anarchic moment. Ages 1–4. (June)
With the exception of one "Woof!" by the observant pooch, the text here consists of the repetition of one word: "mine." The story is told completely in the digitally created pencil-sketched color illustrations. The cheery toddler on the jacket clutches armfuls of toys. On the front end papers he, or she, faces a smaller crawler across the toys. In a series of vignettes across the opening double pages, the toddler collects those toys as the little one watches. When the smaller child dares pick up one of the toys, our hero shouts loudly what s/he has been repeating, "MINE!" A series of wordless adventures follows, as the toy is tossed into the dog's water bowl, then snatched by the dog. Both youngsters enjoy tossing toys into the water; the dog does not. But there is a happy ending as the dripping little ones smiling at each other are picked up by their mothers. Barton's lively naturalistic visuals effectively convey emotions like the near horror when the dog chews another toy, even as the baby rocks with laughter. The double page action depicting the baby getting up and taking unsteady steps onto the next scene is particularly entertaining. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
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
What toddler hasn't experienced the frustration of trying to retrieve toys from a baby sibling or the family dog with a shouted "MINE!"?
Though the situation is quite familiar, it's the whimsical illustrations that capture every comical nuance here. The text is virtually wordless—just one word, "Mine," which is repeated in the first several spreads and is implied in following scenes. Initially, this scene of play starts badly, with the toddler rounding up all the toys, uttering "mine" with each one. Baby flings toy bunny in the air, and it lands in the dog's water dish. Dog shakes wet bunny, showering water everywhere. Toddler drops all the other toys in the dog's water bowl, spraying water on the laughing kids and dog (who breaks the textual pattern with one "Woof?"). Body and facial expressions need no translating. A string of blue dotted lines traces the movements of all the tossed and flying objects. The capricious artwork has touches of Helen Oxenbury and Marla Frazee's babies, smudgy, digitized pencil sketches full of movement and joy. As a discussion piece to use with very young children, a basic lesson in emotional literacy or an exercise in reading the pictures, this not-as-simple-as-it-seems book excels.
This charming, animated episode will elicit giggles and demands of "read it again!"(Picture book. 2-5)
…a delightful example of the drama and emotion that a nearly wordless book can convey…the laughter of young readers will doubtlessly round out the narrative.
The New York Times
NYTimes.com, August 17, 2011:
"[A] delightful example of the drama and emotion that a nearly wordless book can convey...the laughter of young readers will doubtlessly round out the narrative."
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, April 18, 2011:
"Crum uses only the title word (if you don't count a single "Woof?"), but the various inflections speak volumes about the comic dynamics of sharing...[Barton's] dizzyingly expressive digitized pencil sketches seem to be everywhere at once continually reframing the action to make sure readers savor every gleefully anarchic moment."
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2011:
"The capricious artwork has touches of Helen Oxenbury and Marla Frazee’s babies, smudgy, digitized pencil sketches full of movement and joy...This charming, animated episode will elicit giggles and demands of 'read it again!'"
Starred Review, School Library Journal, June 2011:
"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."
Sharing toys is not as easy as it seems. The gentle lines of the illustrations in this book work with the simple text to tell the story about a play date between two young children. The front endpapers set up the scene at the floor level where there are lots of colorful toys and two toddlers. A dog is in the background watching them. The tension mounts as the older child claims all the toys one by one and declares them "mine" while the young toddler observes. The tension rises to a climax for the older child when the younger one picks up a stuffed animal at the same time the dog picks up a ball. Suddenly, the younger child tosses the stuffed animal into the air and it lands in the dog's water bowl. Thus, the tension is broken and the frolic begins with the trio as they joyfully play with all the toys. The back endpaper brings the story full circle with an aftermath scene when the play date comes to a close. Children may enjoy relating to the young characters in the story. The original picture book, which was a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, has made a successful transition to board book format. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung and Marilyn Courtot