cover image Babysitting for Benjamin

Babysitting for Benjamin

Valiska Gregory. Little Brown and Company, $13.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-316-32785-5

Frances and Ralph, an elderly mouse couple, think they're adequately prepared for the arrival of Benjamin, the overactive young bunny they've agreed to baby-sit. They place the goldfish bowl atop a bookcase, stash the lampshade in the basement and put a gate in front of the stairs. But when Benjamin (who towers over his diminutive sitters) bounds in the door, commanding, ``PLAY,'' Frances and Ralph discover just how disruptive his ``play'' can be. Finally, after the feisty fellow tears apart their house on two disastrous visits, the mice employ old-fashioned common sense and send him outdoors, where he tires himself out happily and without creating a mess. Though Benjamin's iron will and monosyllabic utterances recall another bunny--Rosemary Wells's Max--Gregory's ( Through the Mickle Woods ) tale has both kid-pleasing humor and plenty of action. Munsinger's ( One Hungry Monster ; Ho for a Hat! ) busy pictures merrily convey Benjamin's antics--as well as the comical dismay on his sitters' faces--as he chews on the sofa cushions, dances in a puddle of milk and throws a bowl of peanuts into the air. Ages 3-8. (May)