MEAN MARGARET by Tor Seidler
Kirkus Star


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A fastidious woodchuck discovers parenthood to be worse than his wildest imaginings in this benign, if sardonic, animal tale from Seidler (The Wainscott Weasel, 1993, etc.). When Sally Hubble, a poster child for the ""terrible twos,"" is left in a ditch by three of her older siblings, the maternal instincts of Phoebe--the new wife of a woodchuck named Fred--are amused despite the difference in species; soon the child, dubbed Margaret after Phoebe's mother, is ensconced in the once-spotless burrow, pulling apart glowworm lamps, smashing heirloom furniture, and greedily consuming all the honey, berries, and goat's milk the harried woodchucks can gather. Margaret grows at a great rate, and soon the family finds itself sharing a nearby cave with a squirrel, a skunk, two bats, and a snake, plus Phoebe's coquettish sister Babette and her three offspring. When at last Margaret makes the mistake of stomping on the skunk's tail, her reeking flight into the forest reunites her with her natural parents. Fred, whose relief at her flight is not entirely unmixed, realizes that his attitudes toward parenting have undergone a profound change when Phoebe shortly thereafter gives birth to little Patience. Chubby and disheveled, Margaret towers over her exhausted, dapper minions in Agee's numerous thick-lined, simply drawn cartoons. Advanced readers may perceive an edge beneath the drollery, but it's all in good fun.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1997
Page count: 165pp
Publisher: HarperCollins