Four eccentric but gallant children get into an amazing amount of trouble in this madcap comedy from McKay (The Amber Cat, 1997, etc.). The Robinson family’s mother is sick and their father takes her away to recuperate, sending the twelve-year-old twins, Perry and Ant, to visit with their kooky Aunt Mabel, while ten-year-old Sun Dance and eight-year-old Beany stay with a neighbor. The twins are supposed to travel alone by train to Mabel’s, but they get off at the wrong stop and are several hours late. They know Mabel neither by her appearance, nor her last name, so wind up moving in with a bizarre old lady who is too batty to tell them that she’s not their aunt. Meanwhile, Sun Dance devises a burglar trap, accidentally ensnaring Mabel, who is searching for the missing twins. Not to be outdone, Beany spends her time wishing on what she believes to be a magical sword, then digs up the garden to see if her wish—that her recently buried beloved dog went to heaven—came true. For readers unfamiliar with the previous books about this lot, the set-up may feel sluggish; that the whole affair is wildly improbable won’t surprise McKay’s fans. Ultimately, the book gains momentum, becomes enjoyably outrageous, and culminates in an amusing, gratifying ending. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-689-82376-2

Page Count: 153

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1999

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One of a four-book series designed to help the very young prepare for new siblings, this title presents a toddler-and-mother pair (the latter heavily pregnant) as they read about new babies, sort hand-me-downs, buy new toys, visit the obstetrician and the sonographer, speculate and wait. Throughout, the child asks questions and makes exclamations with complete enthusiasm: “How big is the baby? What does it eat? I felt it move! Is it a boy or girl?” Fuller’s jolly pictures present a biracial family that thoroughly enjoys every moment together. It’s a bit oversimplified, but no one can complain about the positive message it conveys, appropriately, to its baby and toddler audience. The other titles in the New Baby series are My New Baby (ISBN: 978-1-84643-276-7), Look at Me! (ISBN: 978-1-84643-278-1) and You and Me (ISBN: 978-1-84643-277-4). (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84643-275-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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A girl and her sister start off rather glumly in the back seat of the car, leaving all their friends behind, because they are off to a family party. When they arrive, they are kissed by Aunt Joan—the worst—and then there is more kissing and a bunch of cousins just hanging around. But the kids start sharing war stories (hair cuts, lost teeth, split lips) and playing shark on the lawn; there are hideouts under Uncle John’s chair and potato-chip thievery; and then there is all that food beloved of family gatherings, for it is Gran’s birthday. At the end, of course, no one wants to go home. In sprightly rhyme, Reid captures the range of experience, from initial wariness to high hilarity, present at parties full of relatives. Her illustrations, done in painted Plasticine on board, have a wonderful texture, making a Hawaiian shirt, three-bean salad, and Mary Jane shoes pop out of the page. A treat. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-97801-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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