cover image Marge in Charge

Marge in Charge

Isla Fisher, illus. by Eglantine Ceulemans. Harper, $15.99 (176p) ISBN 978-0-06-266218-7

Spontaneity and mayhem reign in actress Fisher’s first children’s book, which unfolds over three chapters and kicks off a series about an eccentric babysitter. Marge shows up in the guise of a strict, elderly matron, but after Jemima and Jake Button’s parents leave, Marge sheds her dowdy hat, reveals fabulously multicolored hair, and announces that she’s a duchess who has abandoned palace life. Marge regales the kids with tales of her days as a renegade royal while bringing chaos into their lives, filling the bathroom with bubbles, serving chocolate soup for dinner, saving a rained-out birthday party with magic tricks, and turning a school concert rehearsal into a free-for-all. Though the children sometimes feel that the caregiver-child roles have been reversed, Marge’s whimsy has a purpose: she manages to liberate timid seven-year-old Jemima and calm rambunctious four-year-old Jake. Both Marge and the individual stories feel stuck in overdrive, but readers will get some laughs out of the unpredictability she brings to the children’s lives, captured in Ceulemans’s buoyant b&w cartoons. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Stephanie Thwaites, Curtis Brown UK. Illustrator’s agency: Plum Pudding Illustration. (Oct.)