cover image That Apple is Mine!

That Apple is Mine!

Katya Arnold. Holiday House, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1629-5

Three animals vie for a crunchy snack in a folktale that Arnold (The Adventures of Snowwoman) illustrates in a modernist blend of drawings and cut-paper collage. Each character has a reason to make the title's claim: ""That apple is mine!"" Hare insists, ""I saw it first!"", but Crow ""pick[s] the apple off the tree"" and Hedgehog snags the heavy fruit when Crow accidentally drops it. Their noisy tussle awakens Bear, who judiciously reviews the case and tells the trio to divide the prize. Hedgehog chops the apple into four sections and gives the last chunk to Bear, ""because you stopped us from fighting."" Problem solved--almost. Observant readers will notice Worm, who exits her home during the commotion and can only whimper, ""But that apple was mine!"" Arnold bases this fable on an original story by Russian storyteller Vladimir Suteev, and she lets oversize type emphasize the animals' cries of ""Hey, wait!"" and ""I want it!"" She sketches the characters in a bold, discontinuous black line that looks like litho crayon, then layers the figurative images over abstract shapes of pale blue, yellow, tart green and apple red. The resulting spreads suggest black-and-white slides projected on a randomly colored movie screen. Arnold casts a contemporary artist's eye on a century-old story and refreshes the familiar theme of sharing. Ages 3-6. (Nov.)