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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sitting Duck, written and illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic. Harper, 2010. $21.99 ages 3 and up

"'Babysitting is easy!' said Brody. 'When Anabel gets here, we'll all play together. Our only job will be to keep her out of trouble.'"

Once again the title page provides a glimpse at upcoming events. Max takes the ball bonk on the head with aplomb, and some consternation. Kids will know immediately that big problems are on the horizon. It's always that way when we seem too sure of ourselves and the task at hand. Wouldn't you agree?

The gang is gathered when Brody announces their job for the day. Max seems content to help. But, the others are quick to pack up and make a beeline for more important places! Anabel bounds in with all the enthusiasm that a playful and precocious puppy can garner. She is delighted to see her Uncle Brody, Max and Dov and they are full of the energy needed to keep her satisfied, for a short time. Soon, Brody is looking for a soft chair, and some R & R. He convinces Anabel that a story is in order and you can guess who falls asleep. Max is next on Anabel's list of entertainment. They head outside. It seems that there are more opportunities for trouble once boundaries grow broader. Anabel is relentless and soon immediate help is needed. Brody comes to the rescue, but more problems ensue. Finally, exhaustion takes it toll and Irene returns to find the babysitters and the babysittee 'down for the count'. She is assured that it's been a great day...and not a bit of trouble!

Great illustrations add to the humorous appeal of this classic story of a babysitting job gone bad. There is one in particular that had me smiling broadly. When Anabel and all the birds are catapulted out of the tree in an attempt to free her, you cannot help but be amused at the expressions and the bird's-eye view of the action. This is the fourth in the Max the Duck adventures. Fans will be delighted to see Max and his friends again!

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