A fairy godmother who is slightly hard of hearing wreaks arithmetic havoc in this original fairy tale from Babbitt (Ouch!, 1998, etc.). Elsie’s mother says that she has been behaving well—“she didn’t always do what she should, before.” But the fairy godmother hears, “she should be four,” and with a whisk of her wand, Elsie immediately becomes four Elsies. Elsie’s horrified father cries, “No, wait!,” and the fairy godmother turns the four Elsies into eight, and flies away. Chaos ensues, as all the Elsies fight over what was once just right for one Elsie, and when “it was time for bed, Papa and Mama couldn’t keep track of which Elsies they had hugged and which they hadn’t.” The quarreling among the eight Elsies becomes so great that the entire family is run out of town, until they meet the fairy godmother, who, with the help of the cat, restores the family to their proper number—well, almost. The illustrations are done in muted watercolors, and depict an old-fashioned fairy-tale village located in some northern European landscape. The fairy godmother herself is black in her features, but not otherwise culturally distinct. The real stars of the story are the Elsies, who scowl, shout, quarrel, and make mischief with octupled abandon. While the illustrations are quite nice in composition and background, many of the figures and facial expressions are static, resulting in a sometimes awkward look to the paintings. Still, the slyness with which Babbitt captures the Elsies’ many moods compensates, and moreover, the concept of a suddenly multiplied self, with its many advantages and disadvantages, is sure to appeal to youngsters. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7868-0900-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2001

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A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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A marketing trip from Miranda (Glad Monster, Sad Monster, p. 1309) that jiggity jigs off in time-honored nursery-rhyme fashion, but almost immediately derails into well-charted chaos. The foodstuffs—the fat pig, the red hen, the plump goose, the pea pods, peppers, garlic, and spice—are wholly reasonable in light of the author's mention of shopping at traditional Spanish mercados, which stock live animals and vegetables. Stevens transfers the action to a standard American supermarket and a standard American kitchen, bringing hilarity to scenes that combine acrylics, oil pastels, and colored pencil with photo and fabric collage elements. The result is increasing frazzlement for the shopper, an older woman wearing spectacles, hat, and purple pumps (one of which is consumed by her groceries). It's back to market one last time for ingredients for the hot vegetable soup she prepares for the whole bunch. True, her kitchen's trashed and she probably won't find a welcome mat at her supermarket hereafter, but all's well that ends well—at least while the soup's on. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-15-200035-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1997

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