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Alligator Baby


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The creators of The Paper Bag Princess here introduce a quick-witted heroine, Kristen, who notices that the newborn baby her dizzy parents proudly bring home isn't human at all. In on the silly joke, readers know that the couple, in their haste to get to the hospital, had made a wrong turn into the zoo. Attempting to retrieve their infant, Kristen's folks twice bring back additional animal babies, and each time Kristen insists, "That is not my baby brother!" and her mother replies, "Now, Kristen, don't be jealous." Finally the girl takes it upon herself to bicycle to the zoo and claim her new sibling from the arms of a "mommy gorilla." Martchenko's exaggerated cartoons are responsible for much of the tale's cheerful slapstick: they show a diaper-clad infant monkey swinging from a chandelier, a baby seal splashing happily in the bathtub while balancing a shampoo bottle on its nose and the heroic Kristen, flashlight strapped to helmet, pedaling home with her ebullient sibling in her bike basket. The animated repetition and general goofiness make this a fine read-aloud for preschoolers. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)

PreS-Gr 2‘Kristen's baby brother is born at a zoo instead of a hospital. Her overwrought parents repeatedly bring home the wrong infant‘first an alligator, then a seal, then a monkey. Finally, brave Kristen takes off on her bike and locates the misplaced "people baby." Thanks to the brave, smart big sister, the babies get sorted out, "And everything was okay...until Kristen's mother had twins." Storytime audiences will cackle as Kristen examines each baby, pointing out the animal parts (claws, flippers, tails, etc.) that convince her none of these creatures is her new brother. The silliness escalates in the ebullient watercolor illustrations. Kristen's mother tosses hair curlers out the car window on the first trip to the zoo, leaving her hair to twist wildly for the rest of the story. The animal youngsters have a grand time visiting the humans' house. The seal balances shampoo on its nose while it plays in the bathtub; the monkey swings from the chandelier. Refreshingly different from most "new baby" stories.‘Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA

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