A misheard nursery rhyme gives rise to an imaginary friend who helps a little girl overcome loneliness.
Sally, whom watercolor-and-pencil illustrations depict as a white girl with light skin and sandy-brown hair, thinks her mother ends the “Baa Baa Black Sheep” rhyme she sings to her baby brother with a line about “the little boy… / Who lives down the DRAIN.” This inspires her to try to talk with the unseen, pipe-dwelling boy when taking a bath. She voices feelings of sadness and isolation about being too little to join her big sisters in their play, as well as jealousy for her busy parents’ attention. Although she’s comforted by this imagined audience, she wishes she could hear the little boy respond. “I know you’re probably trying, but you need to try something different!” she cries, and the resulting echo inspires her to try something different to change the dynamic with her family. Her efforts ultimately meet with success, not only because her family members respond positively, but because her perspective changes as she realizes, for example, “that much like her favourite toys, she had to share her parents, too.” A twist ending returns readers to the nursery rhyme that opened the story, and this time Sally hears about “the little boy who lives down the LANE,” whom she imagines anew.
A playful spin on the new-baby theme. (Picture book. 3-6)