cover image The Good-Bye Book

The Good-Bye Book

Judith Viorst. Atheneum Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31308-0

A small boy begs, wheedles and worries through his parents' preparations to leave for the night without him. He tells them about the horrors of baby-sitters: ""I hate baby-sitters. They could make you eat vegetables. . . . They could make you go to the bathroom before you go to bed even when you don't have to. I didn't say they did. I said they could.'' Right after that, he launches into symptoms of what he believes to be a fatal illness, requests in vain that his parents read him a poem and warns them that he won't be telling them ``good morning'' the next day if they stick to their plans to go out. Viorst delivers this soliloquy with just the right amount of lamenting and fussing; the child makes his parents feel terrible that they've chosen a French restaurant over his company. Chorao's pictures soothe away the anger of the words by showing the parents' concerned looks, their hugs and kisses as they leave, and the friendly baby-sitter who seems to promise, wordlessly, an evening of fun. Ages 3-6. (March)