Three by the Sea

Our BLG reader this week was Bill. He brought us a quirky little book by author/illustrator Mini Grey called Three by the Sea.

We were intrigued by this book but it left us a little puzzled. The consensus was that it needed further exploring, maybe even another read out loud session but that we definitely like this story. But perhaps like Mouse’s fancy cheeses, this book gets better with age (or read agains!). I took this book home and shared it with my own children and same phenomenon. We read it, discussed it and then my daughter took it off to her room to read it again and examine the pictures in more detail. This book definitely needs to be given time and we are excited that it has come into our classroom! Thanks BLG!

Three friends, Cat, Mouse and Dog live in a beach hut by the sea. Happily residing together? Perhaps not.  When a stranger arrives bringing mystery and gifts from the Winds of Change Trading Company, everything begins to change. The stranger plants little seeds of doubt with each friend. He asks Mouse if he approves of Dog’s gardening style. Only planting bones? What about flowers, vegetables, herbs? He questions Cat’s dedication to cleaning and Mouse’s ability to cook with variety. Soon the animals are all miserable with each other – full of criticism, accusations, doubt . . . A desperate event pulls the friends back together and when they return home, the Stranger is gone leaving behind a note and packets of seeds. Life is changed in the beach hut by the sea. The animals continue their duties: gardening, cleaning, cooking but now they share these tasks and more happiness and a faint scent of herbs fill the air.

So did this stranger bring peace or turmoil? Was he an agent of change or were his intentions less than positive? Read this book a time or two and decide for yourself.

If you become an instant fan of Mini Grey, as I did, read more about her books here.

I also found this lovely tour of the Mini Grey Universe in The Guardian’s Children’s Books.

5 thoughts on “Three by the Sea

  1. Super post. Is this your first Mini Grey book? I think it’s her least successful one if I’m honest. Do track down her Traction Man books and also her fairytale/nursery rhyme retellings – all are fabulous.

    • I am now on the look out for Traction Man but have read Egg Drop and seen her illustrations in Two Giants

      Thanks for the tips!

  2. I discovered Mini Grey this year via Zoe! I have since recommended her to my teaching students, who have used her books with children in London schools. Traction Man is definitely the most popular: great for inspiring imaginative play, oral storytelling and writing, as well as a great deal of pleasure from reading.

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