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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Share, written and illustrated by Sally Anne Garland. Owlkids, 2013. $16.95 ages 3 and up

"...with my dolls instead.
But he was behind me -
he followed me there!
Mom said, "He wants to play.
Please let him share."

He jumped
and bumped
and bounced on my bed."

Parents like it when their kids are good hosts. So, when Mom suggests sharing with a young cousin on a quick visit, we know that she wants what is best for both the visiting child and her own. That does not alter the fact that sharing can be very difficult, even impossible at times.

Bunny has all her ducks in a row in her neat and tidy room, when Mom makes the announcement. The cousin makes his presence known immediately, with a request to play with the exact bear she has in her arms. Gentle suggestions from her mother keep sharing at the forefront, and the older bunny shares the bear, moving on to another activity. You know little ones...they ALWAYS want what you have! Too true in this lively rhyming tale of patience and persistence.

As Bunny continues to move on to new things, in hopes that her little cousin will settle to one thing, she becomes more and more frustrated. The gentle reminders that he's only copying her actions to be 'just like her' do help a little bit. Play seems hopeless as he pokes and pulls, jumps and bumps, grasps and grabs, jostles and jiggles, bobs and blocks, scribbles and scrawls, huffs and puffs, and finally hugs and squeezes. That final act eases the frustration felt!

Ms. Garland tells a heartfelt and delightful story, while recognizing the feelings of both bunnies in her appealing artwork. Expressive and full of movement and detail, they accompany a lively rhyming text with enough repetition that young readers will soon want to try reading it independently. Her use of color helps to define the most exasperating moments. The final tour of destruction makes it evident that the day has been long and trying when her aunt finally arrives to rescue the older cousin with a gentle reminder of her own! 

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