Illustrated by Helen Stevens
Ages 7 to 9
Random House, 2003, 0-440-41898-4
The Quigleys are a pretty ordinary sort of family. There is Mum and Dad, Lucy and Will. They each have a story in this little book and each story is sort of…well…ordinary. And yet, these four stories manage to be special and funny. For example, in the first story, Dad wants to watch a football match very much but he has agreed to babysit his best friend’s children. He sees no conflict between watching his match and babysitting. He does not however factor in the sheer determination of the children to be as difficult and obnoxious as possible.
What follows is a comical series of events, a tussle of wills between Dad and the children he is supposed to be minding. Finally Dad decides to ignore the kids and their shenanigans. He watches his game and things settle down. It is only when he goes to check on the children that he finds that one of them is missing. Who would have thought so much chaos could ensue from something as simple as babysitting and watching a football game. The other stories are similar in that a very simple idea grows and grows into something so much bigger than it was before, something funny, and something memorable. The little girl of the family, Lucy, decides that she is going to participate in a wedding dressed up as a bee and not wearing some silly bridesmaid dress; Will, her brother, decides that he wants a Harpy Eagle for Christmas; and Mum has a truly awful birthday which somehow, by some miracle, turns out to be not so awful after all.
With gentle tongue-in-cheek and classic understated humor Simon Mason has created a family we can easily grow to love and laugh with. Simple and amusing black line illustrations can be found throughout the book.
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