cover image Baby Tamer

Baby Tamer

Mark Teague. Scholastic, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-590-67712-7

Every parent needs a babysitter like the unflappable Amanda Smeedy. The epitome of grace under pressure, young Amanda (who sports one of Teague's signature near-vertical hairdos) quickly rises to the occasion when faced with a trio of rambunctious charges (""From bongo drums and fleegle horns/ to piano and tambourine,/ there was no louder three-piece band/ than Clarabelle, Zeke, and Baby Lurleen""). Bent on outfoxing their sitter, the Eggmont children escalate their shenanigans from mild garden-variety chaos to a full-blown circus, complete with fireworks and dancing elephants. But Amanda coolly disregards their pranks, lets them wear themselves out trying to impress her and then (with well-deserved smugness) simply puts them to bed. Teague (The Secret Shortcut) pulls out all the stops in this sly spoof, yet another imaginative entry in his gallery of skewed domesticity. The bright, sassy acrylics careen across the pages at near-warp speed in a series of effective quick-cut perspectives--now looking down from above (Baby Lurleen on the high wire), now about to leap off the page (Baby Lurleen astride her locomotive), now looking up from below (Baby Lurleen using the couch as a trampoline and catapulting herself upstairs)--leaving readers with the feeling that they've had as vigorous a workout as the three Eggmonts. It's a wild ride from start to finish, and more fun than a three-ring circus. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)