Me first

Max Kornell

Book - 2014

A brother and sister's constant attempts to outdo each other land them in a sticky situation.

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Picture books
New York, NY : Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) [2014]
Main Author
Max Kornell (-)
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Little donkeys Hal and Martha quarrel the way that older brothers and younger sisters do. They happily argue about everything and never miss an opportunity to turn any circumstance into a competition. One afternoon, the family heads out for a picnic lunch, and Hal and Martha decide to follow a new path home through the woods. Along the way, they one-up each other until Martha goes a step too far and tumbles into a creek bed. The pair joins forces to get her out and return home safe, sound, and a little wiser. The playful figures brim with personality as they argue and cavort in a setting of lush, full-bleed, earth-tone landscapes, all of it captured in Kornell's jaunty, saturated ink drawings. With a tender story and appealing aesthetic, this outing will easily win over storytime audiences.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Kornell looks at how cutthroat competition and bragging rights can define a sibling relationship, using the same quiet incisiveness and narrative restraint that made his debut, Bear with Me, so impressive. Hal and his younger sister, Martha, are donkeys who can't stop trying to outdo one another. When Hal declares, "Race you to Gopher's Rock!" and wins, Martha simply heads to a nearby tree stump and declares herself the winner of that race instead. Unlike many fictional younger sisters, Martha is no needy shrinking violet; when Hal challenges her, "it made beating him more fun." When the siblings take a new path home from a family outing and learn that being first isn't always a good thing, their one-upmanship is quickly replaced with empathy and collaboration. They also realize where their relentless competitive spirit comes from (we're looking at you, Mom and Dad). Emphatic ink lines and rich earth tones make this book particularly handsome and underscore the intensity of the protagonists' deep-seated, single-minded drive to triumph-first independently, and then together. Ages 5-8. Agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-Hal and his younger sister Martha are constantly trying to outdo each other. They squabble over who will be the first to pack their bags for a picnic, jump in the river, and build the highest rock tower. But the siblings change their ways after taking a new path home filled with many unpleasant "firsts " that force them to help each other rather than compete. Set in the countryside with rolling green hills and brown cottages, the donkey characters dress in human clothing. The old-fashioned illustrations are appropriate for this fable-like tale. It takes place over the course of a single day, and the artwork helps readers transition from the sunny summer morning to the shady twilight of evening. The full-page paintings alternate with smaller ones set against ample white space providing visual variety. The composition and line work of the acrylic ink is excellent, and the straightforward text is a combination of narrative and dialogue with the occasional use of speech bubbles that serves the sequential story well. The large trim size, boldly outlined illustrations, and easily readable text make this a good choice for group sharing. This story of sibling rivalry will have broad appeal, especially for parents looking to emphasize the importance of teamwork.-Amy Seto Musser, Denver Public Library (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

Martha and Hal are ultracompetitive siblings. Martha isn't bothered that Hal is older: "It made beating him more fun." These two can turn anything into a competition, whether it's racing to Gopher's Rock, packing their bags for an outing, or seeing who can stack stones the highest. After a family trip to the river for a picnic -- during which time Hal and Martha find "exciting ways to try to outdo each other" -- they get permission to go home a different way. One misadventure after another on the walk back help the siblings grow to appreciate each other and realize that a little cooperation goes a long way. Kornell's acrylic ink drawings burst with color. Martha, Hal, and their parents are depicted as very expressive donkeys; William Steig's Sylvester and his folks are a good comparison. The messages here about sibling rivalry come minus any heavy-handedness. sam bloom (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Being first is only funif it can be called funwhen it doesn't entail learning the rude consequences of the unknown. Kornell's two donkeys go by the names of Hal and Martha. As brother and sister, they enjoy a good game of one-upmanship. In this case, it's a relentless, barely bearable, simmering war. They live in a gloriously bucolic setting, as evocative as a woodblock print burnished with the light of sunset, but their competition carries on, even while on a picnic. On a walk home, they take a new route and encounter many new circumstances. Martha races to try the berries first. Yuck! Hal climbs through the hollow log before Martha can and emerges coated in cobwebs for his efforts. Martha jumps on the log bridge spanning a stream and goes for an unexpected swim, in her clothes, when it breaks. There's nothing quite like learning a lesson the hard way, not to mention that the air is perfumed by their silence as the lesson seeps in. Kornell can't be said to have exactly a light touchthe message is as subtle as the taste of cobwebsbut if it teaches just one reader not to need to always go one better, it's brought peace to one small sliver of Earth. As soothing on the eyes as it is, potentially, on the nerves. (Picture book. 4-8)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.