This otherwise appealing, sweetly simple story can’t avoid the pitfall of a prescriptive message about “sharing.”
Blieka, a winsome, floppy-eared bunny, looks blissfully happy with her new present: a big red ball. But when friends ask to borrow it, Blieka’s response is defensive: “It’s not yours… / IT’S MINE!” The words “IT’S MINE!” run across two pages, white shaky letters on a red background, the ball filling the spread. One can almost hear the music from Psycho. Poor Blieka. She begins to worry that someone might try to take her ball, and she guards it with a worrisome jealousy, taking it everywhere with her—“even to circus school.” However, when the ball springs a leak and friends come to her rescue with a pump, Blieka begins to unwind a bit. The satisfactory but unsurprising conclusion: Lots of friends bring toys to share together. Moores’ pencil-and-wash art, more childlike than the text, is delightful. Blieka and much of the background share a rich, warm yellow, and Blieka’s friends are depicted as a variety of appealing, rounded little creatures.
No doubt some parents will find this conveys just the lesson they are looking for, but the lack of empathy for the child’s viewpoint—why shouldn’t something special belong only to me?—makes the story less than perfect for, well, sharing. (Picture book. 2-5)