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)