cover image Tom and Pippo and the Washing Machine

Tom and Pippo and the Washing Machine

Helen Oxenbury, Oxenbury. Little Simon, $5.95 (12pp) ISBN 978-0-689-71255-5

With characteristic warmth and humor, Oxenbury captures a child's passion for a specific toy and the family's respectful response to the attachment. In this series of thick-paged books (ideal for recent board book graduates) Pippo, a stuffed monkey, is toddler Tom's constant companion. He tumbles with him into a puddle during a winter walk, reads with him when Tom's father is too tired for the job and silently takes the blame for the mess Tom makes when he ``helps'' his father paint the house. Children will identify all too well with Tom's anxious moments as Pippo faces a spin in the washing machine; Mom provides plenty of sympathetic reassurance. Black-and-white line drawings alternate with uncluttered full-color illustrations; in most pictures there is an expressiveness in Pippo's face worth watching, whether he is frowning as he is stuffed into the washing machine or reaching down longingly from the clothesline towards Tom's outstretched arm. The stories occasionally strain for a resolutionwhich is forgivable, given the brevity of each bookbut they are right on target for this age level and sure to captivate their intended audience. Ages 2-5. (September)