All for Me and None for All

Helen Lester, illus. by Lynn Munsinger. Houghton Mifflin, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-547-68834-3
Putting exaggeration to comedic use, the creators of Tacky the Penguin and Wodney Wat introduce a greedy pig named Gruntly who doesn’t just refuse to share his toys with his friends, “he helped himself to theirs.” (Gruntly even nabs fleece from Woolworth the sheep and feathers from Cluck the chicken to make a pillow for himself.) On a treasure hunt, Gruntly is so determined to get to the prize first that he dashes off without listening to (or reading) the end of the rhyming clues, and repeatedly ends up in the wrong spot. It’s a fairly ordinary story about greediness, and the message is slightly muddled by the emphasis on Gruntly’s impatience as well as some plot contrivances (Gruntly is only able to continue in the treasure hunt because his friends leave the second and third clues lying around). However, Lester’s prose is dashed with humor throughout, as is Munsinger’s characteristically emotive artwork, and the duo sidesteps an overly sweet finale, as Gruntly tweaks the titular mantra just slightly: “Alllllllllmost all for me. But some for all!” Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/2012
Release date: 04/03/2012
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