For everyone who'd like to return to the comfortable family and neighborhood made so entirely real in the four previous books about Alfie and his little sister, a generous collection of incidents and vignettes. The two children cheerfully make a mess of their breakfast while Dad tries to read the paper; Alfie shares a photo album with Grandma and hears how her brother Will once got into extraordinary mischief; Annie Rose, who is just learning to talk, takes Alfie's obstreperous friend Bernard as her special friend and learns his name as her fifth word (after "Mommy," "Daddy," "no," and "more"). In a quiet saga that says a lot about how things change, Mr. MacNally's hat becomes a toy, a gift to the milkman on a wet day, and finally a bed for a stray puppy. And when Alfie is page for his mother's friend, Annie Rose appoints herself impromptu bridesmaid. Like their neatly plotted predecessors, these nine pieces explore childhood's joys and satisfactions with uncommon sensitivity and warmth, both in their attractively ingenuous language and in the consummate draughtsmanship and humor of their illustrations. Lovely as a first chapter book to share with preschoolers, or for Alfie's old friends to read to themselves.