Jamie Rix, , illus. by John Bendall-Brunello. . Barron's, $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7641-5466-9

Jim and Sally love their Granny Lally, but she's got a major credibility problem. For instance, she'll eat all the whipped cream, then tell her grandchildren that the stuff was sour and she was actually doing them a favor. "They couldn't call their granny a liar," writes Rix (The Last Chocolate Cookie), "because grown-ups never lied—especially grannies!" Then Granny Lally loses Jim and Sally's beloved hamster Murphy, and tries to foist on them an obvious imposter. As Rix puts it: "Granny Lally crossed her fingers and lied through her teeth." Some children may be taken aback by Granny Lally's failure to own up, but it's clear that she adores Murphy (she even takes him with her to the dentist) and, thanks to her deception, he ends up with a mate—the imposter. Bendall-Brunello (Mouse, Mole, and the Falling Star, reviewed above) helps keep the mood light with the fluid, airy lines and sunny palette of his watercolor and pencil pictures—the series of illustrations depicting a dripping wet, towel-clad Granny frantically hunting for Murphy have an appealing air of kid-level naughtiness. Youngsters able to acknowledge ambivalent feelings toward the adults in their lives should relish the book's bracing, unsentimental humor. Ages 4-7. (June)