Three by the Sea

Last updated Monday, June 20, 2011

Author: Mini Grey
Date of Publication: 2011
ISBN: 9780375867842
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jul. 2011

Synopsis: Grey, one of the more inventive picture-book creators working these days (Traction Man Is Here! 2005; Egg Drop, 2009), offers a beguiling little parable in her latest offering. Dog, who handles the gardening chores, Cat, who cleans house, and Mouse, who oversees the kitchen, live a blissfully quiet existence in a little shack by the sea. But then a shady fox shows up, representing the Winds of Change Trading Company and questions whether their friendship is really living up to expectations. Dog is only burying bones in the garden, Cat's napping instead of dusting, and Mouse's menu is incessantly fondue-based. The roommates squabble, then make up after a little crisis and move on with their lives, more aware of each other and how their roles can blend together. The artwork is standard-issue outstanding for Grey, with creative dollops of collage, endearing animal characters, and detail-strewn settings. With a complex resolution that refreshingly eschews any simple message, this book offers a nice opening to discuss how change may be both unwanted and stressful, yet ultimately welcome.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you have chores at your house?
•  Do you have siblings? Do they have chores?
•  Are there chores you're good at?

•  Sardines and mackerel
•  Fondue
•  Pebbles
•  Eider downs (duck feather)
•  Desperate
•  Lurch
•  Sinking feeling
•  Cultivating
•  Disconnected
•  Keen
•  Housework

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Is the fox a good guy or a bad guy?
•  Do you think Cat, Dog and Mouse were doing a bad job at their chores?
•  Do you do something that is more fun with your friends?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a suit case- what would you put in it for your friends and family?
•  Sea craft- shell photo frame

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!