Books by Bonnie Graves

Released: April 1, 2001

Who's taking care of toddler Tucker Goodchild? Not his real babysitter, that's for sure. Rachel Rottenberger is Tucker's sitter, but she needs a substitute so she can see her favorite rock group, Scum and the Suds. Fifth-grader Joel Maccarone is strong-armed into watching Tucker for a few hours. He has taken a babysitting class but has never actually watched a real, live toddler. As the reader will no doubt guess from the beginning, everything that can go wrong will. Writing over-the-top humor is one thing, putting a baby in danger is another. Joel drops the baby as he attempts to squeeze him into the high chair, ice cream flies through the air and speckles the cabinets, the birdcage gets knocked over and capsizes, Tucker eats a chalk crayon . . . you get the picture. Would any mother, upon hearing that her fifth-grade son is babysitting for the first time without the baby's parents' permission, simply allow it to happen? How likely is it that a baby would be left wearing cloth diapers? With pins? In 2002? Would a child who can't even work a high chair be able to fashion a new diaper out of his own t-shirt? Miraculously, Joel is transformed from the bumbling nervous sitter into a picture of confidence. He strips the baby, tests the water temperature with his elbow, and gives Tucker a bath. (A ten-year-old boy bathing a toddler?) Tucker miraculously says the word "coset" and lets Joel know where the disposable diapers are. (And why wasn't one of them on the baby when the sitter arrived?) Younger readers might be amused by the slapstick escapades of Joel, but older children will cringe at the sheer implausibility of the tale. Even the characters' names distract from the story. Not even Glasser's wonderfully amusing signature black-and-white drawings rescue this work. Cleary's Ramona and Hurwitz's Russell are much better choices for children who like realistic, humorous situations. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
THE BEST WORST DAY by Bonnie Graves
Released: April 22, 1996

The Best Worst Day ($13.95, $3.95 paper; April 22, 1996; 64 pp.; 0-7868-0167-0, paper 0-7868-1090-4): In the Chapters series, an entry about the wish for a friend that comes true, with only minor disappointments along the way. The new girl in Lucy's class, Maya, looks like perfect best-friend material, and Lucy practically wills it to be so. At the end of the day, it is Maya who asks Lucy for friendship. This sweet but unlikely tale has a gloss of perfection usually reserved for fairy tales; new readers will feel comfortable with the pacing and the just-right dose of suspense. (Fiction. 7-9) Read full book review >