DON'T GROWN-UPS EVER HAVE FUN?

Jamie Harper, Author, Jamie Harper, Illustrator, Literary Agency Transatlantic, Illustrator . Little, Brown $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-316-14664-7

The three busy siblings who star in Harper's funny first book just can't understand the apparent doldrums of adulthood. As the narrator comments on Dad's preference for "boring" TV (the news) or Mom's insistence on putting away the groceries solo, the comically charged watercolors show the young trio going for the gusto (e.g., they commandeer the remote so they can watch a kids' video; they hijack the toilet paper from the shopping bags and wrap themselves up, mummy-style). Lively cartoons feature an imaginative range of perspectives, as in a rearview-mirror image of the kids in the backseat emptying Mom's purse while she drives ("C'mon, Mom, let's share!" reads the caption). Variations between vignettes, panels and spreads reinforce a sense of the children's breathless (if not chaotic) pace. Harper can successfully extend a joke, too: when the children thoughtfully set up an in-home spa for Mom (who "needs to get away"), a line-up of dolls lounging in chairs shows each toy in a state of beautification (one sports a facial mask composed of "diaper goo," another wears an expression of shock as it faces a mirror). While parents and precocious youngsters will most appreciate the author's sensibility, there are laughs here for everyone. Ages 3-6. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/03/2003
Release date: 04/01/2003
Genre: Children's
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