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Three by the Sea Hardcover – April 5, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Grey, one of the more inventive picture-book creators working these days (Traction Man Is Here! 2005; Egg Drop, 2009), offers a beguiling little parable in her latest offering. Dog, who handles the gardening chores, Cat, who cleans house, and Mouse, who oversees the kitchen, live a blissfully quiet existence in a little shack by the sea. But then a shady fox shows up, representing the Winds of Change Trading Company and questions whether their friendship is really living up to expectations. Dog is only burying bones in the garden, Cat�s napping instead of dusting, and Mouse�s menu is incessantly fondue-based. The roommates squabble, then make up after a little crisis and move on with their lives, more aware of each other and how their roles can blend together. The artwork is standard-issue outstanding for Grey, with creative dollops of collage, endearing animal characters, and detail-strewn settings. With a complex resolution that refreshingly eschews any simple message, this book offers a nice opening to discuss how change may be both unwanted and stressful, yet ultimately welcome. Grades K-2. --Ian Chipman

Review

"Grey, one of the more inventive picture-book creators working these days , offers a beguiling little parable."
—Booklist

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2011:
"Grey’s wonderfully expressive, richly textured mixed-media collages leap and bound with funny details (like the "All-Purpose Flakes" box in the kitchen, perfect for both baking and bathing). Vivacious design elements such as comic-strip–like panels for action sequences and cut strips of type for the dialogue in the climactic fight add further fun. The clear, clever text—rendered in a large font—is as fresh and invigorating as the rest."
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375867848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375867842
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.4 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,142,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mini Grey was given her name after being born in a Mini in a car park in Newport, Wales. She studied for an MA in Sequential Illustration at Brighton under the tutelage of John Vernon Lord. Mini also worked as a primary school teacher in Oxford, where she now lives.

Her books include Egg Drop, The Pea and the Princess (shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal), Biscuit Bear (winner of the Nestlé Children's Book Prize Gold Award), Traction Man is Here (winner of the Boston Horn Book Award and shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal), The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon (winner of the Nestlé Children's Book Prize Bronze Award and winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal), and Traction Man meets Turbodog. Mini Grey is one of the Big Picture's ten Best New Illustrators.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
What a very strange little story. A black cat, a white dog and a little gray mouse co-exist happily in a hut right on the beach. They have neatly divided the household chores and live in harmony. Dog tends the garden, Cat manages the household cleaning, and Mouse handles the cooking. When you live in a hut by the sea, chores are pretty simple.

One night, just as the trio are enjoying their dinner of cheese fondue, there is a knock at the door. A fox, nattily dressed in a yellow and brown striped suit, stands smiling on their threshold. He invites himself in and announces he is from the Winds of Change Trading Company, a company that helps fix your life, when you may not even know something is amiss. Not to worry, it is absolutely free.

The next morning, Fox observes the household, asking questions and making observations. He mentions to Mouse that it seems a bit odd that Dog plants only bones in the garden. Fox asks Cat if he isn't a bit tired of eating cheese fondue every night, and he tells Dog it seems unfair for Cat to be napping while he should be dusting. Fox opens his Winds of Change Trading Company suitcase and produces free gifts for each of them: cooking magazines for Mouse, tinned fish for Cat, and a fancy collar for Dog.

With his gifts, Fox has planted seeds of doubt in the household. Suddenly, the three friends are arguing fiercely, each feeling unappreciated by the other two. It takes a disastrous event (the near drowning of Mouse) for them to remember they are the best of friends. When they return to their hut near the sea, Fox is gone, along with their boat, but has left behind several packets of herb seeds as a parting gifts.

From that day forward, the housemates make changes to their routine.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just read this book to my four and six-year-old girls. We all loved it. It is a touching story of 3 unlikely friends. When their relationship is challenged (by the fox and his "winds of change"), things get a little rocky. After a near tragedy, they find a way to come together and compromise. As readers, we are reminded how no relationship stays the same (even if we want it to)."

Afterward, we discussed how the fox (and his "winds of change") may or may not be real. It's open to interpretation, as the previous reviewer noted. We also discussed how sometimes a "family" can be defined as any people that care for one another and decide to stick together through thick and thin like the characters in this charming book.
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Format: Hardcover
My mom got this book at the library for my 2 year old daughter. They read it twice a day for a couple months. My daughter loves the illustrations and talked about the "stranger" causing trouble. I don't know how much of the story my daughter really understands, but she likes the book alot.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My kids love this book! They pretend they are the characters and talk to me about what they 'should' have done in order not to have had quarrels. They see the life lesson that although they were hurt, they turned out better when they took care of each other. Lovely story!
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