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ALL IN ONE HOUR by Susan Stevens Crummel

ALL IN ONE HOUR

By Susan Stevens Crummel (Author) , Dorothy Donohue () , Dorothy Donohue (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7614-5129-3
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

A mouse leads a series of pursuers in a merry chase that lasts exactly one hour. At precisely 6:00 a.m., an orange cat spies “the mouse that started it all” enjoying cookie crumbs while its master sleeps. It leaps out the window after the mouse, only to be itself followed by a dog, then the dogcatcher, a bank robber, and a police officer—to be finally thwarted when the whole parade runs afoul of a grocer’s bananas. Crummel (And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon, 2001, etc.) employs the tried-and-true rhythms of “The House that Jack Built”; while the rhythm occasionally falters, it does move the story along. The double-paged spreads are framed in a deep blue; the text (preceded by a digital read-out of the time) snakes its way around this border, occasionally moving aside when a picture element breaks the frame. Donohue (Sweet Hearts, 2002, etc.) provides the concept for this offering, according to the title page, and her cut-paper collages offer a bright and cheery setting for the mayhem. While the layering of the papers creates an immediate three-dimensional effect, the figures are arranged against the background with a flat and childlike sense of perspective, making the illustrations as a whole pleasingly in tune with their audience. This flatness of perspective, however, is out of tune with the readouts of the time: the characters simply don’t seem to go very far, despite the generous one-hour allowance. Young children are unlikely to notice this disjuncture, however, and this offering does serve to help them develop a sense of elapsed time; that the story ends at 7:00 with everyone back in place except for a new mouse nibbling the crumbs will give those readers a happy frisson that the romp will begin all over again. (Picture book. 4-7)