Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Read, Read, Read, said the Baby: Mine by Shutta Crum, illustrated by Patrice Barton

[This review was previously published and has been edited]

I purchased this as a picture book, but when I received a review copy of it in board book format, I thought it was even more brilliant!

There are only two words in the whole book, "mine" and "woof". Just for the record, the word "mine" is used nine and a half times and "woof" appears once.

The story is told through Barton's soft but brilliant color illustrations. The plump, rosy-cheeked toddler featured on the front cover is introduced to a baby and a stack of toys, with a dog in the background. Naturally, her first response is to scoop them all up, one by one, saying "mine!" before the baby can get any. Unfortunately, there's just a few too many toys and as the toddler frantically tries to collect them all, the baby and dog join in the game with enthusiasm and toys go flying. The two children quickly discover a much better game they can play together - dumping the toys in the dog's water dish. Spontaneous sharing ensues and grows until the final "mines" are for new friends.

The gradual sharing between the children is realistic, if a little overly positive. They don't play together at any point, but they are aware of each other and eventually work out a game they both participate in, as children of that age are capable of doing. I kind of wonder where the moms were while the kids were dumping toys in the dog's water dish, but that's all part of the fun. It reminds me of Barbro Lindgren's Sam books (or Max, if you're going for the original Swedish).

Verdict: I think this one works really well as a board book, maybe even better than a picture book. There are lots of different things to identify in the pictures and parents will appreciate the humor in the story.

ISBN: 9780375863462; Published August 2012 (board book edition) by Alfred Knopf/Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the library; Picture book previously purchased for the library

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