OH, SIMPLE! by Jane Breskin Zalben


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It looks cunning, sort of Peter-Rabbit-ish. But the story of Beasely chipmunk and his know-it-all neighbor Winifred is a standard preschool reverse-play, '70s-'80s style. Because his father is watching Monday-night football on TV and he wants to see cartoons, Beasely packs a suitcase and runs away to Winifred's--where she ridicules his pajamas, toothbrush, and slippers, and instead of seeing cartoons (forbidden by Winidred's mother), he's subjected to a spelling bee . . . with Winifred smugly iterating, ""Oh, SIMPLE!"" each time he gives up. So Beasely heads home, fondly embraces his father, and the next morning when Winifred turns up at his door (to return his dinosaur book), invites her in for pancakes--which she doesn't know how to make. ""Oh, SIMPLE!"" says Beasely. That one-line comeback is about all there is to it, but the build-up is handled deftly enough to keep the pages turning--at least for one performance.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1981
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux