Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Boy Who Wouldn't Share by Mike Reiss

The Boy Who Wouldn't Share by Mike Reiss, illustrated by David Catrow

Rating: 4 stars

Last night my dear Ben lost his bedtime show.  Again.  In our house, if a child gets three strikes during the day, they lose a show.  It happens quite a bit with young Ben, who has a difficult time controlling his eruption-like reaction when something doesn't go his way.  He's working on it, he's working on it... And, in the meantime, we sit and read books while the other kids watch a show.

So, his loss is definitely my gain.  I mean, I should have been cleaning up, but...who is going to pass up a boy in a lap with a big pile of books?  Not me.

We read four books last night together.  The Boy Who Wouldn't Share was one of them.  The rhyme itself is great: "Edward was a frightful boy / who wouldn't share a single toy. / Even with his sister, Claire, / Edward simply would not share."

The illustrations themselves are even better.  The wickedly funny, exaggerated stuff that comes from David Catrow's Crayolas are so great.  (Here are all the books I've reviewed with his illustrations.)  They fit well here; he's given Douglas a permanently sourpuss face with pouty eyes that magically seem to know when Claire is getting close to any of his toys.

But the story itself is really good, too.  Claire tries again and again to borrow something. She wants so desperately to play with her big brother!  Finally she sits on the outskirts looking in at Edward, who has somehow managed to bury himself--happily--with his toys.

Then their mom brings up fudge.  And he can't reach it.  So delighted Claire receives the whole plate.

With the whiff of dessert in the air, Douglas knows he's been "made bad choices."  The deep, crabby scowl lifts off of Douglas's face as he encourages her to take, hold, hug his toys.  He apologizes, sincerely. "And Claire who did not hold a grudge, / helped him out and gave him fudge."

In wonderful child-fashion, she forgives Douglas quickly and completely.  Claire knows she needs to forgive him.  She knows she should share.  She knows he deserves another chance to make better choices.

And so she does.

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