Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Three by the Sea

Three by the Sea

Mini Grey
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 9
Random, 2011   ISBN: 978-0375867842

In a beach hut by the sea, a cat, a dog, and a mouse live together peacefully. The dog tends the garden (planting bones), the cat cleans the hut, and the mouse does all the cooking (cheese fondue is his specialty). Then one night a Stranger from the Winds of Change Trading Company arrives at their doorstep. The Stranger tells the cat, dog, and mouse that they are the “Lucky Winners” of a free visit from his company.

The next day the Stranger points out to Mouse that Dog only plants bones. Why doesn’t he plant anything else? Then the stranger gives Mouse a selection of cookbooks as a gift. Later, the Stranger shows Dog that Cat is sleeping instead of cleaning, and he gives Dog a new collar. Before dinner is served, the Stranger seeks out Cat and he asks Cat if he minds eating cheese fondue at every meal, and he gives Cat some cans of fish to eat.

At dinner, Cat, Mouse, and Dog have a terrible argument. Cat complains about the food, Dog complains that Cat is lazy, Cat complains about the gardening, and so it goes. Poor Mouse is so upset that he packs up his things and he leaves. Without any warning, the three animals find themselves facing a terrible test.

This thought-provoking book delves into the nature of true friendship, and it explores the idea that sometimes things have to go wrong so that everyone can see that something needs to be fixed. Children will be drawn back to this book again and again. Is the mysterious Stranger who causes so much trouble a troublemaker, or is he actually doing something good?

With a wonderful story and unique multimedia illustrations, this memorable picture book is sure to become a favorite with young and older readers alike.