cover image You Bet Your Britches, Claude

You Bet Your Britches, Claude

Joan Lowery Nixon, Tracey Campbell Pearson. Viking Children's Books, $11.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-670-82310-9

There's never a dull moment when Shirley and Claude (stars of If You Say So, Claude and Beats Me , Claude ) are on the scene. This time they've blown back into town from Texas, bringing with them a newly adopted son Tom. Tom's sister Bessie lives with Mrs. Krumbly, the owner of the Good Eats Cafe. There's a rather Dickensian view of adoption here: Krumbly has paid $20 for little Bessie and now treats her as a servant. When bank robbers appear, Bessie proves she's more than a ``saucy, little, no-account, ragamuffin girl'' and catches the bad guys in a way that wins her the respect--and reward--that she's due. In the end, she rides home with Shirley, Claude and Tom. Colorful language and Pearson's lively cartoon drawings heighten the zip in this rollicking story. Ages 3-8. (Aug.)