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Just a Little Bit
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About the Author

Lynn Munsinger has illustrated more than ninety books for children, many written by her frequent collaborator, Helen Lester. She lives in Vermont.

Reviews

The author and illustrator of Nothing Sticks Like a Shadow put a new spin on a timeless theme as two friends deal with their dissimilar statures. Elephant and Mouse try to balance a seesaw in the park, with obvious results. Along come a giraffe, zebra, lion, bear, crocodile, mongoose, monkey and ostrich. One by one they climb onto Mouse's side of the seesaw, ``grunting and groaning and grimacing'' as they push down as hard as they can in an attempt to get Elephant off the ground. Just as they're about to give up, a small brown beetle flies down from the sky and perches atop Mouse's nose, adding the needed weight to move that seesaw. ``Every little bit helps!'' declares Elephant as a crowd of animal spectators cheers. Tompert's playful if slight cumulative text gets a lift from Munsinger's amusing watercolors, which portray this assemblage of creatures as an endearing, unusually expressive lot. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

"Munsinger takes the prize here with comical renditions of the improbable antics and hilarious facial expressions of assorted playground/zoological types." Kirkus Reviews

PreS-Gr 2-A giraffe, zebra, lion, bear, crocodile, monkey, ostrich, and even a mongoose, all winsomely drawn, walk, trot, prance, lumber, grimace, and groan in turn as each tries to aid Mouse in pushing down on one side of the seesaw to lift elephant on the other. Predictably, with each new creature, nothing happens-until (and equally predictable) from overhead a small brown beetle alights on Mouse. Elephant trumpets, ``every little bit helps,'' as he is hoisted into the air. Pastel watercolors and ink washes in Munsinger's talented hands turn this overworked theme into an endearing piece of whimsy. Clothed bunnies and piglets watch from the sidelines in a pale green park (no modern, rubber-tired, pressurized wood playground here). Repetitive phrasing, the parade of animal types, and the variety of verb actions make this a beginning language pleaser. The facial features and poses are childlike and expressive. Together again (Nothing Sticks Like a Shadow [Houghton, 1988]), author and illustrator introduce a variation on ``the straw that broke the camel's back'' to a new generation. This is neither as suspenseful nor delicate as Alvin Tresselt's The Mitten (Lothrop, 1964), but still a charming effort.-Harriett Fargnoli, Great Neck Library, NY

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