Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Edwin Speaks Up

April Stevens; Illustrations by  Sophie Blackall

How cute is baby Edwin in his little striped sleeper? Mrs. Finnemore gets major points for her ability to present her children so adorably that you don't even see their horrid behavior coming. The girls wear sweet print dresses, finished off with a contrasting bow tucked behind one ear, while the boys sport a nice mix of prints and solids. Too bad they are not one-quarter as well behaved as they are well-dressed.  

Mrs. Finnemore seems so well put together on the surface. Her sleek white fur is perfectly smoothed back, and her banana yellow pocketbook matches her pumps exactly. She wears a print dress similar to her daughters, and smiles sweetly she loads all five ferret children into her baby blue car for a quick grocery trip. Mrs. Finnemore has it going on!

We see a crack in the facade when the baby blue car arrives at the grocery store with her banana yellow purse teetering on the roof. Her neatly attired children are actually wild beasts who somersault through the aisles and knock over displays of canned goods with their wrestling matches. Mrs. Finnemore simply ignores her children's behavior, serenely tossing fruit into her cart. She is in her own world - so much so that she manages to switch carts with another shopper, leaving poor Edwin behind. When the carts are switched back, the sugar needed to make Edwin's birthday cake rolls away with the other shopper.

To the Finnemores, it sounds as though Edwin is just babbling. Sure, most of his words are made up nonsense, but he is more coherent than they give him credit for. Only Edwin realizes there isn't any sugar for his cake in the cart, calling out "Sweetin do a bye bye" as the cart rolls away. On the way home, Edwin's mom comments that she can't believe her youngest is turning one, and that he will be talking soon. Poor, clueless, Mrs. Finnemore. Super glad I don't live by those ferrets.   

I wonder if Mrs. Finnemore is on some sort of ferret sedative or if she has trained herself to ignore the misbehavior. Or maybe ferrets are just naturally laid back. Although I love the appearance of the Finnemore family, the backgrounds are super enjoyable also. My favorites are the long pastel pink bench that stretch out inside Mrs. Finnemore's auto, and how each aisle at the grocery store is ultra orderly (until the kids tumble through) with the products lined up just so.     

Review copy provided by Random House.

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