From Publishers Weekly
Luthardt's honest and visually emphatic debut book uses only four words (aside from some various dog noises), but that's all the vocabulary he needs to dramatizeAin the fullest sense of the wordAthe importance of sharing. The trouble starts when a big box arrives from Granny, addressed to brothers Toby and Marcus. "Mine?" wonders each boy, gleefully speculating on the contents. When the wrapping reveals a T-rex doll, the monosyllabic discourse quickly deteriorates into "Miiiiiiiiiiiiine!" and the stuffed toy is almost ripped to shreds in a fierce tug-of-war. Mom wordlessly but unmistakably calls a timeout, and when she calls "Lunch," the boys discover that the doll has been expertly repaired. "Yours," each chastened boy insists to the other. "Ours," they conclude triumphantly. Luthardt understands that sharing is a high-stakes game for a young child, which is why the Grand Guignol feel of much of his book seems just right (though one wonders why Granny would send only one toy). He pairs his minimalist text with oil paintings rendered in lurid colors and strong, stark shapes. And he employs a cinematic framing that evokes film noir: when the T-rex lies ripped open between the two boys, the scene is viewed from overhead, an almost vertiginous perspective that should arouse a deliciously morbid frisson of "Uh-oh" from even the youngest readers. In the end, the dog gets the last laugh: it's seen running away with the toy on the endpapers. Ages 3-7. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
PreS-K-Two brothers receive a package in the mail from their grandmother. It contains a single stuffed dinosaur. One brother walks off with it, singing "mine, mine, mine." The second child angrily pursues him, shrieking "Mine!" and wrestles it away. The two siblings then engage in a tug of war over the toy and the dinosaur is predictably damaged in the process. At this point, mother intervenes-she was there when the package was opened, but for some reason has disappeared during the tussling-and angrily sends both boys to their room, where they supposedly ponder their behavior. When they are called down for lunch, mother has repaired the gift. The boys contritely offer it to one another ("Yours") and finally agree to share ("Ours"). The plot line is predictable, and there is nothing fresh or original in the approach. Luthardt's cartoonlike moppets with their oversized heads and miniscule arms are flat and unappealing. For sibling interaction with some pizzazz, stick with Rosemary Wells's "Max and Ruby" series (Dial).-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.