``Exhausted parents everywhere,'' to whom Murphy dedicates this work, will be as tickled as their young ones by her jovial story, the fourth book featuring the Large family--those precocious, precious pachyderms who made their debut in Five Minutes' Peace . ``It's Daddy's birthday, and we're going to have a quiet night in,'' Mrs. Large informs her four children. Resigned to the fact that they are expected to go to bed early to ensure their parents a tranquil evening, the young elephants, markers and paintbrushes in trunk, make decorations for the dinner table. But, alas, Mrs. Large's romantic repast never materializes. Mr. Large comes home from work very weary, and falls asleep while reading the kids a bedtime story. And guess who does the same when she takes over? After covering their dozing parents with a blanket, the children, resolving that it would be a pity to waste the birthday meal, carry it upstairs for a bedtime snack, spilling merrily as they go. Brimming with droll particulars, Murphy's colored-pencil renditions of the family's antics are as spirited as ever--and are an ideal match for her cleverly understated text. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)
- Judy Silverman
It's a good thing that this story is so true to life that parents won't mind reading it over and over. It's destined to be a classic. Any child who has had a parent fall asleep right in the middle of reading a book will get a real kick out of this one. Mrs. Large wants the children to go to bed early, so that their parents can have a quiet night in. At one point Mom says, "You sound like a herd of elephants," and one of the children says, honestly, "We are a herd of elephants." The Large family could live in your neighborhood, maybe even in your house.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Mr. and Mrs. Large and their four children are back. This time Mrs. Large wants her husband to enjoy a quiet birthday evening at home. Her ``helpful'' children innocently impede her preparations for a special dinner-for-two, and then beg for a bedtime story as a reward for going to bed early. Finally leaving their exhausted parents dinnerless and sound asleep on the sofa, they trail off to bed quietly, taking Mr. and Mrs. Large's special repast with them. Another hilarious chapter in the elephant family's chronicles, this is a definite winner. The illustrations are first rate; especially priceless are the expressions on the elephants' faces. The text is full of humor and instantly recognizable as true to life; the story is a fine example of a happy, loving family. Not to be missed.-Judy Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Mary Harris Veeder
The Larges are back. This time, the pachyderms' parental goal is getting the children to bed early so that Mom and Dad can celebrate Mr. Large's birthday with "a quiet night in." Youth, of course, gently triumphs over age: the parents snooze on the sofa, site of the bedtime story, and the children take off upstairs to enjoy whatever wine, fruit, and bread hasn't spilled from the trays that Mrs. Large had prepared. Murphy's pictures have the same affectionate feel for children's daily lives as her text. The grumpy looks at bath time and the bickering over a storybook about Binky Bus and Micky Milktruck are vintage.