THE TROUBLE WITH BABIES by Martha Freeman

THE TROUBLE WITH BABIES

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 9
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Complete with jolly stepfather, new neighbors, gay fathers, and a new baby, Freeman takes up where The Trouble with Cats (2000) left off. Holly, her mother, and new stepfather have moved. Holly has the same problems as she did before: staying brave in the face of new challenges and keeping the cats in the house. She also needs to meet her new neighbors. What a diverse group they are. Many—perhaps too many—racial, ethnic, and lifestyle groups are represented in Holly’s San Francisco neighborhood: hyphenated Aileen Cohen-Liu, Xavier with his two dads, and Annie with her Jewish/Polish mother and Chinese father. Xavier’s fathers are introduced quickly but have little to do with the story: “ ‘I have two dads. And no mom. Alan and Jim are partners.’ ‘Oh, now I get it,’ I said. ‘You mean they’re gay.’” As Holly works out the relationship between Annie and her yucky baby sister, the savvy reader will realize that mom and stepdad are about to spring their own yucky news. While there is some humor and the characters are likable enough, awkward first-person dialogue, unlikely situations, and a slow plot detract from total success. Even Xavier, the quirky boy next door, with his inexplicable crush on Annie and his “de-yucka-ma-box” invention, seems just another odd diversion. Smith’s scratchy black-and-white sketches mirror the world painted by Freeman, but add little to it. Though the generous font and thoughtful layout is the perfect form for new readers, the trouble here is there’s just not much story. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-8234-1698-4
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2002




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