Review Blog

Oct 20 2010

Three by the sea by Mini Grey

cover image

Jonathan Cape, 2010. ISBN 978-0224083621.
(Ages 5+) Recommended. Cat, Dog and Mouse live in harmony and contentment, successfully dividing household duties between them. However, one day a stranger arrives, a salesman from a mysterious company called 'The Winds of Change'. The Wolf salesman sets about sowing the seeds of doubt and discontent in the minds of the three friends. After all, why does Dog insist on planting bones in the garden when a few herbs could make everything so much tastier? And must Mouse always cook with cheese as the sole ingredient? As for Cat, well he spends more time sleeping than cleaning house.
All of a sudden the three friends are arguing and complaining. Mouse, in a fit of pique decides to leave home. It is only when his life is in grave danger that his friends forget their quarrel and with a bit of teamwork save the day. However, the winds of change have already blown into this household and some things do indeed change for the better.
Even young children can understand the problems of being stuck in a rut. When I read this with a Year 3 class there was plenty of talk about how change can seem scary but often ends up being a good thing. There was also lots of discussion about the importance of friendship and tolerance.
I'm a big fan of Mini Grey and this is a delightful story, with plenty of visual jokes, perfect for sharing and poring over. It allows children to talk about quite complex and abstract ideas and put a voice and a name to different feelings. Great fun and thought provoking too, what more can we ask for?
Claire Larson

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