cover image Baby Bill and Little Lil CL

Baby Bill and Little Lil CL

Sue Heap, Heap. Kingfisher, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7534-5196-0

Time and tide may wait for no man, but without them there would be no happy ending to this story. Pail in hand, Baby Bill declares he wants a ""pet fishy,"" so his sister, Little Lil, agrees to take him down the very steep, lime-green hill that leads to the sea. Along the way, the party grows to include a bird, a bee, three sheep, a Dalmatian and a cat; through a combination of momentum and Baby Bill's enthusiasm, the group reaches their destination in a tumble, and Bill's pail floats out to sea. But Lil counsels patience, and when the moon rises, ""In came the waves; in came the pail""--and Bill gets his fishy. Heap's narrative has a diffuse feel and doesn't achieve the warm intimacy of her Cowboy Baby; the story's focus seems torn between Bill's quest and the accumulation and interaction of the secondary characters. But the full-bleed, double-spread drawings carry the book on the strength of their vibrancy and cheeriness, and Heap's quirky, petite characters pop off the densely colored backdrops of sky, sand, sea and grass. Several paintings starring the two siblings show the artist at her best. Ages 3-up. (Sept.)