The truly evil Uncle Barnaby returns to the page in this adaptation from Brammer. The original operetta, now almost 100 years old, has lost some sophistication this time around, but the story still thrills even as the illustrations falter. Barnaby, who has just given Old Mother Hubbard the boot from her shoe for failing to pay rent on time, threatens the Widow Piper with the same fate unless she can convince the vivacious Contrary Mary to wed him. After a series of perfectly despicable acts on the part of Barnaby, the old devil finally gets his comeuppance. Rarely do the illustrations achieve any sort of animation to match the action in the story; instead, they are stiffly posed and muddily reproduced, and none of the characters will take hold in children's imaginations.