Billy and Belle

Sarah Garland, Author Viking Children's Books $13 (320p) ISBN 978-0-670-84396-1
Billy and Belle are two siblings whose mother is expecting a baby any minute. When the morning of labor pains arrives, the pair head off to Billy's school with a neighbor while Dad goes to the hospital with Mom. The hours pass, but after Belle's curiosity almost turns the school pet day into a zany zoo, the teachers are happy to see Dad when it's time to go home. Garland's situations hold much potential for a frenzy of action, yet her text is flat and the story line virtually lifeless. The new brother's birth is anticlimactic--the children and Dad hardly seem excited or moved. The animal escapades in the schoolyard don't create much of a ruckus either. Garland's ink and watercolor illustrations are sometimes peppered with talk balloons or broken into small comic book-style panels, which gives her artwork a light mood. Her predominantly subdued palette resonates the warmth appropriate to a familial tale. Of particular note are the endpaper illustrations that show Mom and Dad--a biracial couple--in bed together. Though a natural and even broadening depiction of parents, the situation may need explaining for some children. Ages 3-8. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1992
Release date: 06/01/1992
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-84507-038-0
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-0-14-054437-4
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4176-3047-9
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-1-84507-037-3
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