The seven stories in this volume recount the escapades of a trio of siblings: Ned, seven; Nina, four-and-a-half; and Joshy, two. In one, the two eldest fear repercussions when they bury Joshy's silver spoon as part of a game of pirates and later are unable to find it. In another, Ned and Nina have some anxious moments when the turnovers Joshy has madestuffed not with raisins but with spiderscannot be distingushed from their own. Other subjects include a Halloween party, a game of hide-and-seek and an imaginary Beasty, which is Nina's friend. While these stories are well written and perceptive, the perspective and humor are often more adult than childlike. But middle-readers, for whom the language and format are suited, are apt to prefer situations involving contemporaries or older children, rather than reading about characters younger than themselves. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 7-10. (August)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3 Seven short stories about seven-year-old Ned, his four-year-old sister Nina, and their two-year-old brother Joshy. Rogers' ``Before You Begin'' note sets a condescending tone that lingers throughout. His stories show promise, but are overly precious and too often flounder on important details. (When Joshy puts dried-up spiders in the tartlets he's made, Acorn the dog too conveniently eats only the tainted pastries; when Ned dams the creek where he and Nina are playing, it's not quite clear how he manages to maroon them in the rising waters; and when Ned finds tangible evidence of Nina's imaginary friend, that evidence is never explained.) Rogers seems to be trying for the on-target family humor that Shirley Hughes does so well but, more often than not, he just misses the mark. Dialogue is often forced, characters lack depth, and the whole has a Dick-and-Jane blandness that today's readers don't have to tolerate. Marcia Hupp, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, Conn.