Frances and Ralph, an elderly mouse couple, think they're adequately prepared for the arrival of Benjamin, the overactive young bunny they've agreed to baby-sit. They place the goldfish bowl atop a bookcase, stash the lampshade in the basement and put a gate in front of the stairs. But when Benjamin (who towers over his diminutive sitters) bounds in the door, commanding, ``PLAY,'' Frances and Ralph discover just how disruptive his ``play'' can be. Finally, after the feisty fellow tears apart their house on two disastrous visits, the mice employ old-fashioned common sense and send him outdoors, where he tires himself out happily and without creating a mess. Though Benjamin's iron will and monosyllabic utterances recall another bunny--Rosemary Wells's Max--Gregory's ( Through the Mickle Woods ) tale has both kid-pleasing humor and plenty of action. Munsinger's ( One Hungry Monster ; Ho for a Hat! ) busy pictures merrily convey Benjamin's antics--as well as the comical dismay on his sitters' faces--as he chews on the sofa cushions, dances in a puddle of milk and throws a bowl of peanuts into the air. Ages 3-8. (May)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-- Frances and Ralph are a pair of elderly mice who decide they need some company and agree to babysit for a young rabbit. Their charge is, however, quite a handful as he chews on the sofa, leaps into the garbage, and basically destroys everything in sight. The mild-mannered couple wonder if perhaps they've made a mistake until they arrive at a solution that satisfies everyone. Munsinger's watercolors greatly enhance this humorous tale. Her whimsical characters have expressive faces and body language that capture the mood of the moment. The all-too-true escapades of this energetic toddler present an entertaining picture of babysitting that caregivers, parents, and children will enjoy. --Rachel Fox, Port Washington Public Library, NY
Benjamin is a huge, cheerful baby rabbit who leaps into the home of a nervous elderly mouse couple, Frances and Ralph, and spreads chaos from the bookcase to the garbage can. The gentle baby-sitters try to prepare for each visit by putting the goldfish on a high shelf, the lamp shade in the basement, and the pencils in the closet, but Benjamin chews on everything, empties all containers, and generally acts out his new word, "dump". Munsinger's detailed line-and-wash illustrations wallow in the domestic mayhem, revealing how a baby can seem like a marauding giant in an adult space. Toddlers and their older siblings will love the messy slapstick, which rises to a climax when the mice panic and put the plants in the oven, the goldfish in the refrigerator, and then find themselves in the closet. The story ends with a cozy solution and everything in its comfortable place.