A splendid first novel--published in Canada in 1986 as The Baby Project--by a regular Horn Book columnist. When 11-year-old Jessica and her teenage brothers hear that their parents are expecting a new baby, they are delighted--Jessica even makes the baby the focus of a school project she's doing with best friend Margaret. Two-thirds of the book concerns the family's adjustments--some major, some amusing, but all undertaken with love--to Lucie's arrival. Then, suddenly, Lucie is a victim of crib death, and the family's strength is given a new test as her loss seems to divide them even as her birth had drawn them together--until, slowly, each finds a way to reach out to another and into the family reservoir of love to find the strength to go on together. In Ellis' skillful hands, what could have been a routine problem novel becomes a powerful exploration of a warm, secure family, each humorous, believable portrait drawn beguilingly off-center, pinpointed with realism as vivid as Mahy's, but in Ellis' distinctive voice. Her choices of images and turns of phrase are delightfully unexpected, giving a sense of life rediscovered at the turn of every page; and--best of all--readers should find the book as approachable as a Cleary or a Byars.