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Five Minutes' Peace


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About the Author

Jill Murphy lives in Cornwall, England.


Mrs. Large just wants five minutes' peace from her three rambunctious elephant children, that's all. But what meets her eyes one morning when she enters the kitchen? ``The children were having breakfast. This was not a pleasant sight.'' Pure understatement for a mealtime mess that includes an overturned cereal box, a dripping jar of honey, crushed soft-boiled eggs and on the littlest one, the wearing of a once-full bowl of corn flakes. So Mrs. Large lumbers off to the bathroom, tea on tray, newspapers in bathrobe pocket. But her bubble bath isn't soothing for long; she's soon joined by three visitors. Lester wants to play a tune for her on the flute. ``Must you?'' Mrs. Large asks. Laura wishes to read out loud. ``Just one page,'' says Mrs. Large. The toddler offersand he will not be refusedall his bathtoys. Then they hop into the tub. Mrs. Large heads for the kitchen and finds exactly three minutes and 45 seconds of peace. This book is pure joy, one that parents, not just children, will want to keep on hand; Murphy's frazzled mom will find a soft spot in every reader. (1-5)

PreS-Gr 2 Mrs. Large determines to have just five minutes' peace from the mess and confusion of her beloved children. She fixes herself a tray, runs a tub of lovely warm water, fills it with bubble bath, and hopes for those precious moments alone before facing the day's activities. The ``activities'' follow her to the bathroom, where, one by one, they present her with their special talents of playing the recorder, reading aloud, and dumping favorite toys from the toy box into the tub with her. When all three children climb in, Mrs. Large decides, with a groan and resignation, that she will try for five minutes' peace in the kitchen. Cheerfully bright watercolor illustrations depict this endearing elephant family with distinctive humor and expression, totally complementing the text on companion pages. However, while the text is simplistic enough for primary readers, the humorous depiction of a beleaguered mother is adult-oriented. Some children may wonder why Mrs. Large wants to get away from her children. Nevertheless, a hearty chuckle can be experienced during a shared reading time between a mother and her childrenperhaps eliciting a bit of understanding. Mary Lou Budd, Milford South Elementary School, Ohio

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