cover image While Mama Had a Quick Little Chat

While Mama Had a Quick Little Chat

Amy Reichert. Atheneum Books, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-85170-4

Redheaded Rose, in her white nightgown, is almost ready for bed when Mama picks up the phone saying to her, ""Brush your teeth. Wash your face.... Hurry, let's see/ if you are able to do all that,/ before I finish my quick little chat."" Rose, however, finds herself with much more to cope with when the doorbell starts ringing. First come ""four muscley men"" bringing party supplies, followed by a crowd of eccentric partygoers in fancy dress. A group of waiters ask Rose to help pass hors d'oeuvres, a magician saws her in half, and a group of musicians draft her as drummer. With each new arrival, Rose tries to alert Mama, who uses delay tactics that children will find familiar (""In a minute... I'm just about through""; ""I'm coming!... In a second or two""). Newcomer Boiger fluidly conveys both the heroine's frazzled feelings and her can-do attitude. The fashions and accessories, such as the party guests' attire and Mama's phone, have a 1920s feel; Rose's home, a quaint Victorian row house, seems to expand inside to accommodate the gala festivities in full-bleed spreads, while the scenes in which Rose tries unsuccessfully to get Mama's attention appear as spot illustrations. This entertaining romp (which ends with Mama none the wiser, and Rose fast asleep) will resonate with any child who has ever had to wait for a parent to wind down a phone call. Ages 4-7.