cover image  Eating Up Gladys

Eating Up Gladys

Margot Zemach, , illus. by Kaethe Zemach. . Scholastic/Levine, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-439-66490-5

Younger brothers and sisters will gleefully gobble up this story of sibling comeuppance penned by the late Zemach, and illustrated by her daughter Kaethe (Just Enough and Not Too Much ). In a scene recognizable to all siblings everywhere, Gladys dances in her bedroom, visible by the younger sisters (who must share a room) already sentenced to their beds ("Because she was older than Hilda and Rose, Gladys had a room of her own and stayed up late at night, laughing and being important"). Officious Gladys incurs the ire of Hilda and Rose when she gets carried away with her baby-sitting authority. " 'That's the end!' declared Hilda. 'Let's get rid of that bossy girl! Let's have her for dinner, and be done with her forever!' " The younger girls delight in setting the table for the unlikely feast ("Gladys is so mean, she might not taste good.... We'll need good things to eat her with"). In one scene of exuberant teasing, Hilda and Rose sing, "We'll eat her with spaghetti, and pickles and tomatoes!/ We'll eat her up with jelly, and pudding and potatoes!" as they merrily march around the table banging utensils on pots and lids. Cheerful watercolors outlined in a fine black line animate the droll scenarios, culminating with the image of ever-serious Gladys stuck inside a cooking pot. When the baby wakes up crying and dinner really does need to be made, the message of sibling interdependence comes to the fore. (Jacket notes hint that the trio may be based on the three Zemach daughters.) Readers are lucky that one of the trio has revived this delicious narrative about just deserts. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)