Monday, May 14, 2012

Three by the Sea

Booklist (February 1, 2011 (Vol. 107, No. 11))

Grades K-2. Grey, one of the more inventive picture-book creators working these days (Traction Man Is Here! 2005; Egg Drop, 2009), offers a beguiling little parable in her latest offering. Dog, who handles the gardening chores, Cat, who cleans house, and Mouse, who oversees the kitchen, live a blissfully quiet existence in a little shack by the sea. But then a shady fox shows up, representing the Winds of Change Trading Company and questions whether their friendship is really living up to expectations. Dog is only burying bones in the garden, Cat’s napping instead of dusting, and Mouse’s menu is incessantly fondue-based. The roommates squabble, then make up after a little crisis and move on with their lives, more aware of each other and how their roles can blend together. The artwork is standard-issue outstanding for Grey, with creative dollops of collage, endearing animal characters, and detail-strewn settings. With a complex resolution that refreshingly eschews any simple message, this book offers a nice opening to discuss how change may be both unwanted and stressful, yet ultimately welcome.

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