Three By The Sea by Mini Grey

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Three By The Sea by Mini Grey

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: Another gorgeous book from the supremely talented Mini Grey. The ending has an enigmatic depth rarely seen in picture books, but this won't necessarily sit right at first with all readers. It's still highly recommended by us!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: September 2010
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0224083621

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Dog, Cat and Mouse live together by the sea, each with their own chores to take care of in their own special way. They think that they're happy, but when a stranger turns up from the Winds of Change companny, each of them reassesses their position in their friendship.

We're huge Mini Grey fans here at Bookbag, with Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog and her take on Hilaire Belloc's Jim, Who Ran Away From His Nurse and Was Eaten By A Lion being amongst our very favourite books. There's a real British quirkiness and charm to her work, and that comes through in spades in Three By The Sea. The stranger's motives are unclear, the end result mixed - he drives wedges between the three friends, yet draws them closer together in other ways. Is he a goody or a baddy? Neither really. There's an ambiguity that you rarely get in picture books. Is that good or bad? Both really. On a first reading, there's a slight feeling of Oh... oh. Ok, but it's interesting enough to be re-read. The unanswered questions give it depth that will stimulate discussion, as well as opening it up to slightly older readers who are just learning to read for themselves.

Mini Grey's illustrations are as stunning as ever. They have a unique style that exudes modern freshness, yet have a timeless and classic quality. I'm reminded heavily of Emily Gravett, not because the styles are similar, but because both illustrators are consistently exciting and every book they produce feels like a beautiful object to treasure, pore over, devour, and enjoy. Any book with Mini Grey's name on cries out to be read - you're always in for a treat.

The writing is clear and engaging. There's a little more text than in the average picture book, but the youngest book fans will still be able to keep up. Slightly older children who can best appreciate the contradictory effect of the stranger will get most from Three By The Sea, but even if it doesn't sit quite right with them, the undeniable quality will win out. It definitely grows on you with subsequent readings. Recommended.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag. We also have a review of Grey's The Bad Bunnies' Magic Show.

When Night Didn't Come by Poly Bernatene has nothing in common thematically with Three By The Sea, but has an equally wonderful illustrative style. Me and You by Anthony Browne is an interesting take on Goldilocks, which will lead to lots of interesting debate. If simple tales of friendship are what you're after, you'll enjoy Arthur and the Meanies by Jan Fearnley.

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Buy Three By The Sea by Mini Grey at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Three By The Sea by Mini Grey at


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