CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 5. . . .October 4, 2013
The Sinking of the Wiley Bean is the fifth book in the “Babysitter Out of Control!” series by Margaret J. McMaster. Mrs. Chairbottom, the babysitter, is going to marry Colonel Peabody. They have travelled to the island of Mongo Tongo, taking Stewart with them, to plan the wedding before the other guests arrive. While Mrs. Chairbottom is attending to the details of the wedding, Stewart and Colonel Peabody go beachcombing, and they find a figurehead buried in the sand. This is when the mystery begins and when everything starts to go wrong.
The story is written from the viewpoint of the boy, Stewart. He is the one who takes actions, witnesses the actions that the others take, and has the dreams that contain clues to what is happening. There are really two stories here: that of the wedding and the mystery surrounding the figurehead that Stewart found on the beach. The two are ingeniously linked in several ways, and both are resolved at the end of the story.
The illustrations by Manuel N. Cadag are textured, like comic book pages. The characters are completely recognizable and consistent with the illustrations from the previous book in the series, What Happened in July. Each illustration is perfectly connected to the story and placed well.
As previously noted, in The Sinking of the Wiley Bean, Stewart also solves the mystery and participates in each step of the action. This is more rewarding than in the previous book where Stewart was present for the solution of the mystery but did not take the actions himself. The clues are interestingly laid out. Using dream sequences as part of the trail is inventive and successful, and the clues are easy to identify within the story. Overall, the plot is too complex to be completely satisfying, and with all the people mentioned, often briefly, it is difficult to keep track of who they are. This problem would be minimized if readers were familiar with all of the previous books in the series.
Margaret J. McMaster uses a pleasing, fast writing style completely appropriate for an early chapter book. Anyone who has enjoyed the “Babysitter Out of Control!” books up to this point will delight in this latest addition to the series.
Willow Moonbeam is a librarian and college math professor living in Toronto, ON, with an interest in knitting, astrology and learning new things.
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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.
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.