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Just a Little Bit [Hardcover]

Ann Tompert , Lynn Munsinger
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 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
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Ages 2-5. In a cumulative nonsense tale with its own playful logic, a great big elephant and a sturdy little mouse try to play on the seesaw. Elephant sits down on one side, Mouse climbs to the very edge of the other side, but nothing happens. Gangly Giraffe goes up the board and sits next to Mouse, but nothing happens. Zebra trots up, so does Lion. Bear lumbers up. Other creatures, large and small, join Mouse, and everyone pushes down together. Still nothing happens--until small brown Beetle lands on Mouse's head and changes the balance so they can all go up and down. Munsinger's line-and-wash illustrations, with lots of white space, perfectly express the innocence of the lumbering elephant with big pink fingernails and toenails and a pink-striped T-shirt. Kids will laugh at the gaggle of animals clutching Mouse and each other in various contortions as they groan and grimace and push and try not to fall off the seesaw. The insect as savior is an especially satisfying solution for small children, who must often feel themselves up against a heavy, immovable grown-up, on the seesaw and everywhere else. Hazel Rochman

From Kirkus Reviews

With a nifty fillip of scientific principle, a delightful variant on such tales as ``The Turnip,'' where the last, smallest creature's help accomplishes a goal. Here, Elephant wants to seesaw--with Mouse; but though Mouse pushes down hard, nothing happens. Other animals offer to help, lugubriously piling onto Mouse's end, while amused bystanders comment, offer advice, and are just about to leave (``They'll never do it...Let's go!'') when a flying beetle tops the pile and tips the balance. Tompert makes the most of the situation in her beautifully tuned dialogue; but Munsinger takes the prize here with comical renditions of the improbable antics and hilarious facial expressions of assorted playground/zoological types. (Picture book. 3-8) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review

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

About the Author

Lynn Munsinger is the illustrator of many funny and popular books for children, including the stories starring Tacky the Penguin and Wodney Wat. She divides her time between Connecticut and Vermont.

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