Age Range: 3 - 7
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Ms. Mump's canny instincts as a baby-sitter help Shirley appreciate the little bundle of attention-grabber that is her brother. Shirley, a young hippopotamus, is a little jealous of all the interest shown in her baby brother Stanley. Her father goo-goo's over the mite while changing his diapers; her mother just loves the way he wrinkles his nose—"Wonderful," they warble. Shirley thinks Stanley looks like a prune with legs like a turkey. Shirley carries his bag when the family goes shopping: "Wonderful. He rides. I walk." Then Ms. Mump arrives to baby-sit. Since Stanley is sleeping—and since Ms. Mump has seen how the baby's parents lavish attention on him—Shirley gets her undivided consideration. "Wonderful," says Ms. Mump to Shirley's cookies and dance steps. When Stanley wakes, Ms. Mump has Shirley help. She notes how babies are notorious for needing to be changed and feed and burped and entertained. "Revolting," says Ms. Mump in mock horror. As Shirley accomplishes each task, she gains in her protective instincts, and even begins to enjoy Stanley's company. Ms. Mump serving as a foil to bring Shirley and Stanley close is a nice twist (and the smile parked on her puss will let young readers in on the ruse). Equally neat are the illustrations—an eye-stopping application of gouache on hand-cut stencils, plastic and wire mesh, and old industrial patterns, finished off with pen and ink—making this a worthy addition to any picture book collection. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-06-028132-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: HarperCollins