THE TEN-SPEED BABYSITTER by Alison Cragin & Jane Lawrence Mali Herzig


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Tony Patterson, 14, considers himself lucky to fund a summer job; but the experience quickly becomes a harrowing one. Tony's already counting the money he's going to make for a month's baby-sitting; little Duncan Dubois is only three, and can't be that much trouble. Besides, Mrs. Dubois will be around. Then Mrs. Dubois announces that she's flying to the Bahamas for the weekend. Tony is shaken at the thought of being alone, but still game. The next few days bring a scattering of domestic crises (Duncan wandering off, getting sunburned, etc.), followed by a major tropical storm that cuts off power and telephones, and, for a grand finale, burglars who break into the isolated house. Despite some scary moments, the authors keep the tone light. Duncan is fairly tractable, and Tony, who has twin younger brothers, handles problems imaginatively and without violence. The burglary becomes a farce; neither of the young folk knows the meaning of the words ""clean up,"" and the burglars find themselves in the middle of a pitch-dark disaster area (""Blood!"" screams one when his flashlight illuminates a jello-smeared stairway), fleeing in confusion just as the police arrive. The dust settles quickly, and the story ends on a pleasant note as Mrs. Dubois comes back, and both Duncan and Tony discover new friends--a duck and a lively young woman, respectively. A droll companion to the authors' nonfiction Oh boy! Babies!

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1987
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Dutton