cover image Alligator Baby

Alligator Baby

Robert N. Munsch. Scholastic, $10.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-590-21101-7

The creators of The Paper Bag Princess here introduce a quick-witted heroine, Kristen, who notices that the newborn baby her dizzy parents proudly bring home isn't human at all. In on the silly joke, readers know that the couple, in their haste to get to the hospital, had made a wrong turn into the zoo. Attempting to retrieve their infant, Kristen's folks twice bring back additional animal babies, and each time Kristen insists, ""That is not my baby brother!"" and her mother replies, ""Now, Kristen, don't be jealous."" Finally the girl takes it upon herself to bicycle to the zoo and claim her new sibling from the arms of a ""mommy gorilla."" Martchenko's exaggerated cartoons are responsible for much of the tale's cheerful slapstick: they show a diaper-clad infant monkey swinging from a chandelier, a baby seal splashing happily in the bathtub while balancing a shampoo bottle on its nose and the heroic Kristen, flashlight strapped to helmet, pedaling home with her ebullient sibling in her bike basket. The animated repetition and general goofiness make this a fine read-aloud for preschoolers. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)