cover image A Busy Day for a Good Grandmother

A Busy Day for a Good Grandmother

Margaret Mahy. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $14.95 (26pp) ISBN 978-0-689-50595-9

Mrs. Oberon's son, Scrimshaw, frantic to soothe his teething baby, phones for a slice of his mother's cock-a-hoop honey cake, and Mrs. Oberon rushes off to the rescue on her trail bike. In a sprightly alliterative text that often approaches the linguistic pitch of a tongue twister, we follow the good grandmother as she overcomes a series of perilous obstacles, a la Indiana Jones. ``Rafting in and out of the ragged rocks of the Riff-Raff Rapids,'' she foils the alligators of Swagwallow Swamp by feeding them her ``rather sticky'' butcher-bean-and-meat balls (thus gluing their teeth together). Scrimshaw's attempts to calm the baby by serenading him with the ``teething blues'' provide a hilarious counterpoint to his mother's trek. Chamberlain's bright, loose watercolors perfectly suit the story's madcap humor and breathless pace, portraying the feisty grandma and her barrel-bellied son with warmth and wit. Flawed only by an occasional indulgence of Mahy's verbosity, Mrs. Oberon's wild ride is a sunny celebration of language, eccentricity and family spirit. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)