NO BEASTS! NO CHILDREN! by Beverly Keller


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Instant pandemonium, all peaks and no breathers, beginning with the aghast arrival of bossy housekeeper Mrs. Farisee at the rundown two-bedroom home of narrator Desdemona, her father, five-year-old twins Anthony and Aida, their three large mongrel dogs, and Sherman, the landlord's kid, who hangs around because their house is more fun than his own--then jumping in the next episode to the commotion that ensues when a ""half zebra"" (really a painted mule) turns up in the yard, followed by irate neighbors, the police, the press, and the SPCA. By then we have learned that Desdemona's mother has gone off to find herself and her father, with a new job in a new town, has rented the only place he could find that allowed kids and pets. Soon a nice Aunt (accompanied by a stray cat they think is hers and she thinks is theirs) moves in for an extended visit, and she causes an uproar at a neighbor's wedding with the gift she brings to the church--a small but loud battery-operated TV that won't turn off. A retired sea captain, the mule's owner, begins courting the aunt. Little Anthony acquires a decrepit antique doll at a garage sale, then trades it for a mouse although the landlord's wife is desperate to buy it for $200.00. From all this emerges a sort-of plot, or thread of continuity, in the family's struggle against eviction when the landlord discovers the extent of their menagerie--and a secondary thread in Sherman's rich parents' airy neglect of their son. Keller winds up both problems abruptly by getting Sherman lost and found at a picnic. There are some funny spots here and there once you have a chance to get your bearings and recover from being thrown into the hysteria and forced to laugh.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1983
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard