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Don't Forget to Come Back!

Don't Forget to Come Back!

by Robie H. Harris

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With warmth, empathy, and a healthy dose of hilarity, Robie H. Harris and Harry Bliss capture the many emotions children feel when parents go out—and a babysitter comes in!

Guess what? The babysitter is coming!

That means:

1. Mommy and Daddy are going out
2. the feisty heroine of this book is not going out . . .
3. and she doesn’t


With warmth, empathy, and a healthy dose of hilarity, Robie H. Harris and Harry Bliss capture the many emotions children feel when parents go out—and a babysitter comes in!

Guess what? The babysitter is coming!

That means:

1. Mommy and Daddy are going out
2. the feisty heroine of this book is not going out . . .
3. and she doesn’t like that one bit!

Parents, kids, and babysitters alike will relate to—and laugh at—this all-too-familiar tale, wisely and wittily penned by an expert in child development and brought wickedly to life with detailed illustrations by a noted New Yorker cartoonist.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Treading on some familiar ground, Harris's (Happy Birth Day!) energetic story offers a voluble child's views about being left with a baby-sitter. Faced with the prospect of Mommy and Daddy going out for the evening, a girl pulls out all the stops to prompt a change in plans: "If you go out tonight, I'll get a very bad tummy ache-and I'll throw up!"; "If you really, really love me, you'll take me with you"; etc. The girl's logic, threats and bold entreaties don't sway the adults; and baby-sitter Sarah soon arrives. Since Sarah is "so-ooo cool," the young charge sheds her angry feelings during a night of fingernail painting and pizza. Harris gets all the childhood emotions right, and by creating parents who have seen it all before, she helps paint a humorous family portrait that many readers will recognize. Bliss (A Fine, Fine School) skillfully matches Harris's tone, simultaneously illustrating the heroine's wildly imagined scenarios and the reality of her unruffled parents' preparations for a night on the town. The ink-and-watercolor compositions depict some finely appointed rooms filled with artwork, as well as a cozy child's bedroom-a deft balance of homey-ness and sophistication. Ages 3-up. (Feb. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Parents everywhere will recognize the scenario so skillfully and humorously depicted here. As her parents dress for a night on the town, a precocious little girl tries to thwart their plans. She reasons by telling them she is not a baby, she is a big girl, and babysitters are stupid. When that ploy fails she resorts to threats telling her parents that if they go out a thunderstorm will blow down the house, she will have a tummy ache and throw up, and a big bad moose will walk into the kitchen and eat her up. In spite of all her clever cajoling the parents remain non-plussed and reassure their daughter that they love her and will be there in the morning when she awakes. In typical child fashion the little girl vows not to be nice anymore and shuts herself in the closet. The dark closet is a bit too scary and so she gleefully returns hoping that her absence has changed her parent's plans. They, for their part, pat her on the head, welcome the babysitter and bid their little one goodbye. She has one more admonition, "Don't forget to come back!" Of course she has a grand time with the sitter eating pizza, painting her toenails, and putting on makeup like a clown.... and the moose never did get in the house. This universal emotion is perfectly captured and portrayed with the right mix of playfulness and drama. The oversize sophisticated cartoons show a comfortable middleclass family and include many deft touches of humor. Painting on the living room wall of a moose, and penguin (the little girl threatens to run off to the South Pole) extend the levity of the text. Dialog balloons move the narrative along at a brisk pace. The amusing resolution is very true to life and anxious preschoolers willbe comforted. This is a perfect read aloud for parents and babysitters to share with their charges. 2004, Candlewick Press, Ages 4 to 6.
—Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Harris takes on separation anxiety and leavens it with lots of humor. The story is told by a girl whose parents are dressing up for a night on the town. First, she tries reasoning with them ("1. I am NOT a baby. 2. I'm a BIG kid. 3. So I do NOT need a stupid babysitter!"), and then threatening them ("-if you go out tonight, the biggest baddest moose will walk into the kitchen-and eat me all up!"). Her parents stay calm, the sitter arrives, Mom and Dad leave, and the resolution builds gradually (and happily) from there. Bliss's beautifully executed watercolor cartoons are a perfect foil for this comic tale; they are understated, friendly, and deceptively simple. Harris draws a fine line with the parents' attitude and succeeds admirably; they listen to their daughter without any impatience or anger, yet not even the youngest listeners will think there's a chance they'll stay home. This story reassures children that someone will always be there, that their parents will come back when they say they will, and that the adults-not their offspring-are ultimately in charge. Getting this message across without undermining a youngster's self-respect is a real feat, and gives this book on a familiar topic a fresh tone.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
It's a night out at the opera for Mommy and Daddy while their demanding, somewhat overly imaginative preschooler is apprehensive about staying home with babysitter, Sarah. Numerous attempts at foreshadowing drastic results, negotiating deals, and retreating to the safety of her bedroom have no effect. An anxious "Goodbye, Mommy!" and "Goodbye, Daddy!" bring out this little girl's true feelings: "Don't forget to come back!" Large and sometimes-oversized watercolor/ink-lined drawings illustrate the youngster's dire predictions and fears with ballooned dialogue amidst a culturally oriented middle-class home. Harris confidently portrays the rest of the evening as "Silly Sarah" shares pepperoni and pineapple pizza, encourages wearing clown makeup and painting toenails, and reads a cool monster bedtime story to her sleepy charge. Morning brings an affectionate reunion as Mommy and Daddy are informed of the evening's events from one preschooler's perspective. "The South Pole is too cold / Sarah is so-ooo silly! / And she didn't let a single moose in the house." An amusing, sophisticated look at an age-old concern, reflecting the emotions of separation anxiety through the eyes of a verbal, assertive child. (Picture book. 3-7)

Product Details

Knopf, Alfred A. Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Robie H. Harris received her M.A.T. from Bank Street College of Education and her A.B. from Wheaton College. Now an award-winning, full-time writer, Robie H. Harris has published fifteen books for toddlers to teens, including HAPPY BIRTH DAY!, HI NEW BABY!, and HELLO BENNY!, all illustrated by Michael Emberley, as well as GOODBYE MOUSIE, illustrated by Jan Ormerod. In addition to her writing, Robie H. Harris is a popular speaker around the country on topics such as "Using Children’s Books to Talk About the Questions and Concerns of Children." In DON'T FORGET TO COME BACK!, Ms. Harris’s aim was to address a genuine concern of children — being left at home with a babysitter — with warmth and honesty.

Harry Bliss grew up in upstate New York in a family of successful painters and illustrators, so it wasn’t any surprise that he, too, went on to study painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and illustration at the University of the Arts and Syracuse University. He has illustrated numerous book covers and is a cartoonist and cover artist for THE NEW YORKER magazine. In the tradition of so many NEW YORKER cartoonists, Harry Bliss has illustrated several children’s books, among them A FINE, FINE SCHOOL by Sharon Creech, WHICH WOULD YOU RATHER BE? by William Steig, and COUNTDOWN TO KINDERGARTEN by Alison McGhee.

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