The Making of MINE!
Oh, what a labor of love is a picture book! I started sketching MINE! after being inspired by memories of playing in the snow with my big sister. The book was always about two bunnies and carrot, but the story plot changed more than a dozen times over the course of two years. When I was finally satisfied with it, what did I do? Funny me, I tucked/hid the draft away in a drawer for a whole summer. Then in November 2013, I had an opportunity to attend a children's book portfolio event and meet with cool art director Lucy Ruth Cummins. I remember she chuckled while reviewing it. That reaction made my day, and it just got better from there. She offered to take it Simon & Schuster "with no promises," but I got a happy ending/beginning when it was acquired the following January– YAY!
As of January 2016, MINE! is a real book. Big "thanks!" to the amazing Simon & Schuster team. My editor Justin Chanda and art director Lucy Ruth Cummins brought my original sketch dummy to full potential. Also, thanks so much to editorial assistant Alexa Pastor was so kind and helpful during production and marketing.
After the book came out, my wonderful teacher and children's author/illustrator Monica Wellington interviewed me. Click here to read more about MINE!
– BOOK REVIEWS –
"A minimalistic, humorous tale about competitive bunnies, a carrot, and the notion of sharing. During a nice morning in wintertime, two bunnies riding on a red sleigh encounter a black top hat with a carrot inside. Through a series of illustrations, they are shown shouting "Mine! Mine!" to each other while fighting over the carrot. After a vigorous action sequence in which each fights for the carrot, they lose it, and a big bunny and five little bunnies appear to add competition over the much-desired carrot. It is when a morose, noseless snowman enters this scene of covetous chaos that bunnies and young readers are challenged with the concepts of possession, sharing, and ownership. In this debut picture book, Jin tells the story with only three words: the possessive pronouns "mine," ours," and "yours." The textual simplicity results in a story that is heavily reliant on the pastel-hued acrylic illustrations, the emotions conveyed with crystalline clarity through facial expressions, page composition, and pacing. This nondidactic story is a natural for collections about sharing, effectively softening the natural tendency toward possessiveness of most living things through its sweet illustrations." – Kirkus
"This comic but meaningful story about selfishness and generosity contains only three words: mine, ours,
and yours. Center stage in a wintry forest is one very big carrot. Two bunnies sled down a hill and spot this
carrot, just visible within a stray top hat. Together, they tug it out of the hat, but once the carrot is out, a
double-page spread does a close-up of the bunnies at either end of the prize, both saying, “Mine.” Chase
scenes and tugs-of-war ensue, with the grab fest expanding to the two bunnies pitted against a very large
rabbit, each laying claim to the carrot. Then a group of tiny bunnies intercepts the vegetable, shouting,
“Ours!” The epic fight ends beneath the shadow of a sad snowman, who has lost his carrot nose. The
resolution, in which the bunnies give the snowman back his nose—“Yours!”—hits a joyous note. The
illustrations feature bright acrylics and emphatic typefaces for the three words. Jin’s debut is a ridiculous
romp and a positive lesson in sharing." – Booklist