Saturday, March 8, 2014

Book Review: Cheese Belongs to You! by Alexis Deacon, illustrated by Viviane Schwarz

Book: Cheese Belongs to You!
Author: Alexis Deacon
Illustrator: Viviane Schwarz
Published: 2013
Source: Local Library

By Rat Law, the cheese belongs to the first rat who finds it. Or the stronger rat, who can take it from him. Or the rat who can take it from him . . . or the one who can take it from her . . . Now the puzzle is, who really gets the cheese in the end?

When I first read this, I just smiled at the pile-on of rats taking the cheese, and Viviane Schwarz’s rats, who are astonishingly distinctive (and kinda scary) given how many of them there are. On my second read-through, I realized there’s a story about how things escalate in an everyone-for-himself society. When you get to the page with the rat free-for-all, it’s funny but also a little sad. The fight sprawls across two whole pages, with the disputed cheese (and the rat who found it first) off to one side, pretty much forgotten.

Of course, anybody who’s ever attended kindergarten knows there’s another way to deal with this situation, and the book ends with a rat feast stretching off into the distance. A great one for discussing sharing and getting along.

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