Books by Mary Jane Begin

Released: April 1, 2008

The illustrator of a complete edition of Wind in the Willows (2002) spins off a series of original "origins" tales with this decidedly mannered account of how Toad and Badger met and bonded as tykes. Accustomed to being the only "special someone" at Toad Hall, Toady behaves badly when Mrs. B. arrives, accompanied by young Badger, to be the new nanny. Toady shows characteristically brief but genuine remorse, however, after he rips Badger's stuffed-toy badger, Andy, apart—and after a bit of instruction in stitchery from Mrs. B., the two go on "like two peas in a pod," to be "best buds." In elaborately detailed paintings Begin poses Froggy, dressed in a sailor suit and with skin polished to a plastic sheen, with a neatly combed Badger amid sumptuous period furnishings and toys. The pictures are pretty but considering that the rip in Andy is described differently than it's depicted, they are not so much illustrations as showcases for the artist's talents. Younger readers will be better primed for the original by Inga Moore's extracts, such as The Adventures of Mr. Toad (1998). (Picture book. 7-9)Read full book review >