cover image Julius, the Baby of the World

Julius, the Baby of the World

Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow Books, $17.89 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-08944-3

Lilly, the spunky white mouse who first appeared in the memorable Chester's Way , now stars in a book of her own. Before baby Julius is born, Lilly is an exemplary sister, setting aside toys for the baby and talking to him through her mother's belly. But once Julius arrives, Lilly has a hard time controlling her jealousy. The fact that her parents dote on the new infant, ``kissing his wet pink nose, admiring his small black eyes and stroking his sweet white fur,'' doesn't help matters. ``Julius is the baby of the world,'' croon Lilly's parents. ``Disgusting,'' comments Lilly. Lilly tries to sabotage her parents' early efforts at the baby's education by teaching him her own letter and number sequences: ``3, 8, 1, 5, 9, 6, A, J, K, Z, B.'' However, big sister's protective feelings are aroused when a snooty cousin displays the same disdain that Lilly has felt for the baby. Henkes displays a deep understanding of sibling rivalry and a child's fragile self-esteem. With her gold paper crown and red cowboy boots, Lilly is a superb and timely heroine. Ages 4-up. (Sept.)