cover image When the Fly Flew in

When the Fly Flew in

Lisa Westberg Peters. Dial Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1431-1

As any parent knows, pleas to kids for clean rooms often generate creative excuses. Here, a youngster begs off tidying up his room because ``all the animals are sleeping''-he'll wait until they awaken. However, a wayward fly sails through the window and inadvertently sets in motion a chain of events that would impress even Mary Poppins. Aggravated at the buzzing fly, the dog flails around the room in pursuit, as his tail swishes toys into the toybox, dirty clothes into the laundry bin and ``moldy old apple cores'' into the wastebasket. The fluffy white cat joins in the chase, skidding over the floor and earning the moniker ``dust-mop cat.'' After added ``help'' from the hamster and the parakeet, the fly vanishes out the window-leaving the room spotless. Peters's (Good Morning, River!) nimble prose and kid-pleasing repetitions are heightened by Sneed's (Grandpa's Song; Turkey in the Straw) typically vivid colors, arresting perspectives and uninhibited motion. A great escape for reluctant janitors. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)