That’s Mine!

Michael Van Zeveren, Author, Michael Van Zeveren, Illustrator
Michel Van Zeveren. Gecko Press USA (Lerner, dist.), $18.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-8775-7927-1
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In this animal kingdom comedy sketch, first published in France, a frog, snake, eagle, and lizard try to lay claim to an orphaned egg, in hopes of enjoying it as a tasty treat. Each contender successfully uses the advantage of its bigger size to intimidate the previous owner (the snake cheats by balancing on its coiled self). But the egg’s desirability plummets when a struggle sends it flying straight into an elephant’s noggin, who demands, in full (and fully recognizable) angry parent mode, “Whose is this?” Van Zeveren, a genial cartoonist with a knack for expressive eyes, composes the action along a single plane with minimal propping and background, emphasizing the shifting ownership and progressive size of the combatants. He ties up his story with two nice comic ribbons: after the frightened animals tell the elephant that the egg belongs to the frog, the elephant returns it to him with a kindly, “Well then, here you are.” The closing gag, meanwhile, underscores the timeless wisdom of “Be careful what you ask for.” A slight entertainment, but a durable one. Ages 3–up. (Mar.)
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