________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 19 . . . . May 15, 2009

cover Babysitter Out of Control.

Margaret J. McMaster. Illustrated by Mike Motz.
Kingsville, ON: Mansbridge Dunn Publishers (contact the author at margmcmaster@yahoo.ca), 2008.
57 pp., pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 978-0-9810525-1-9.

Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.

Review by Barb Taylor.

** /4

excerpt:

The bird walked around the box, cocking his head in this direction and that direction, looking high, looking low, looking all around.

Then he looked straight at me and said, ‘I LOVE THAT PERFUME!'

I was about to tell him I wasn't wearing any perfume when he jumped onto my arm and clawed his way up to my shoulder.

‘CHANNEL 53!' He screamed in my ear. ‘CHANNEL 53!'"

Babysitter Out of Control is aimed at young children ready to tackle their first chapter book. The story is quickly paced, and the sentences and dialogue flow nicely. The illustrations are bright, amusing, and interspersed appropriately throughout the book.

internal art

     The story promises more than it delivers. Stewart's parents are private detectives, but, other than mentioning this fact and that they are attending a convention, their unusual occupations do not come into play in the story.

     Mrs. Chairbottom, the elderly babysitter with a talking parrot who shouts out "Channel 53!" [see "excerpt" above] falls flat. Most of the troubles the parrot causes take place out Stewart's sight and are related by Mrs. Chairbottom. For example, Stewart arrives home to see firemen in his house and Mrs. Chairbottom's being taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Later, Mrs. Chairbottom relates how her giving the parrot a shower by candlelight led to the minor mishap. There are scenes where Mrs. Chairbottom and the parrot cause some messes around the house, but none are worse than any parent of rambunctious children has experienced.

     The elements of a good, exciting story exist here, but they just never come to satisfactory fruition.

Recommended.

Barb Taylor is a Junior Kindergarten teacher, freelance writer and MLIS candidate.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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