Michel Van Zeveren was born in Belgium in 1970. He studied animation (wanting to be the next Walt Disney) before discovering the joy of children's book illustration. He lives in Brussels, Belgium with his wife and daughter.
In this animal kingdom comedy sketch, first published in France, a frog, snake, eagle, and lizard try to lay claim to an orphaned egg, in hopes of enjoying it as a tasty treat. Each contender successfully uses the advantage of its bigger size to intimidate the previous owner (the snake cheats by balancing on its coiled self). But the egg's desirability plummets when a struggle sends it flying straight into an elephant's noggin, who demands, in full (and fully recognizable) angry parent mode, "Whose is this?" Van Zeveren, a genial cartoonist with a knack for expressive eyes, composes the action along a single plane with minimal propping and background, emphasizing the shifting ownership and progressive size of the combatants. He ties up his story with two nice comic ribbons: after the frightened animals tell the elephant that the egg belongs to the frog, the elephant returns it to him with a kindly, "Well then, here you are." The closing gag, meanwhile, underscores the timeless wisdom of "Be careful what you ask for." A slight entertainment, but a durable one. Ages 3-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
PreS-K-A frog claims that an egg he finds in the jungle is his. Along comes a snake, "...ssssmine," he says. One after the other, animals of increasing size lay claim to the egg, but the eagle fights back when the lizard wrestles it away. During their tussle, the egg goes airborne and lands on an elephant's head, giving him a painful lump. When he enquires as to the owner of the object, the blame goes back down through the chain of animals. The elephant graciously returns the egg to the gleeful frog, much to the consternation of the others. And then a crocodile hatches. "Mine!" she cries, and the frog is on the run. The illustrations are the best part of this book. Everything is outlined in a thin black line, the animals have expressive faces, and the background is mainly white space with a bit of ground and greenery. The pictures make the book look attractive to young children, as does the repetition of "mine," but the ending can be alarming if one knows that crocodiles eat frogs.-Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.