From one of the finest practitioners of the art of the picture book for the youngest children, four disarming vignettes about a toddler and his toy monkey: Pippo, who has played in the mud, goes into the washing machine after a poignant kiss goodbye in case he never gets out; after a walk on a cold day when both Tom and Pippo fall into a puddle, Mommy gives them separate baths and a warm drink together by the fire; Tom likes to do what Daddy does--including scolding poor Pippo as instigator when Tom makes a mess by "helping" with the painting; and when Daddy is tired of reading to Tom, Tom "reads" to Pippo. In each book, busy little Tom is happy to learn by doing, imagining Pippo as his surrogate. Oxenbury uses simple language, though her text is lengthy enough to extend listeners' verbal ability and to contain some subtle nuances in these healthy relationships. Her clear, admirably drawn illustrations are full of amusing detail, including expressions on faces--Pippo's comically show emotion despite his limp, long-suffering form. Pages are very sturdy but flexible--fine alternative to board books for tiny fingers learning to turn pages. Wonderful.