Shirley's Wonderful Baby

Shirley's Wonderful Baby

5.0 1
by Valiska Gregory, Bruce Degen

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Everything Shirley's new baby brother, Stanley, does is wonderful. Wonderful, that is, to everyone except for Shirley. What's so special about a baby that looks like a prune, has legs like a turkey, and drools? Only Ms. Mump, the baby-sitter, agrees that babies aren't that interesting, especially with their wet diapers, burping, and constant need for


Everything Shirley's new baby brother, Stanley, does is wonderful. Wonderful, that is, to everyone except for Shirley. What's so special about a baby that looks like a prune, has legs like a turkey, and drools? Only Ms. Mump, the baby-sitter, agrees that babies aren't that interesting, especially with their wet diapers, burping, and constant need for attention. But then Ms. Mump and Shirley discover that being Stanley's big sister is what's most wonderful of all.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Shirley the hippo thinks it's about time to send her new brother, Stanley, back where he came from ("The trouble with Shirley's new baby brother was that everything Stanley did was wonderful"). She's had enough of his attention-grabbing spitting, drooling, babbling and smelly diapers. But gradually Shirley undergoes a change of heart, thanks to a clever new babysitter, Ms. Mump. Announcing, to Shirley's delight, that "I like my tea with two lumps of sugar and no babies," Ms. Mump mirrors Shirley's resentment by disparaging babies in general ("Babies are notorious for getting into trouble"), while at the same time maneuvering Shirley into defending her brother. The resourceful woman also nurtures Shirley's sense of competency and importance by asking her to take over such chores as feeding, burping and diapering her infant sibling. Gregory (A Valentine for Norman Noggs) gets the arch tone just right, and it grows warmer as Shirley's affection deepens. The author also understands how a word like "notorious" (used judiciously, several times) can be like a feather tickler to readers' burgeoning vocabulary. Similarly, Degen's (Jamberry) artwork subtly follows the heroine's transformation: his thick black line allows for understated facial expressions as well as dramatic body language. The mixture of patterns and textures draws in readers, while the saturated colors provide the immediacy and punch of the unfolding changes in Shirley. Ages 3-7. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Everything about Shirley's infant brother is wonderful. As her father changes Stanley's diapers, he comments that the baby is wonderful. Her mother thinks his tiny nose is wonderful. Even her neighbor thinks Stanley is wonderful and tickles him under his chin. Shirley is the only person who does not think Stanley is wonderful. After all, he can't walk or talk, and he drools most of the time. Fed up, she finally asks her parents, "Don't you think it's about time to take this baby back?" Shirley's mother just replies that Stanley is wonderful. Then one day, a baby-sitter who pretends not to like babies plays with Shirley and shows her how to change Stanley's diaper, feed him, and burp him. By the time her parents return, the child thinks her brother is wonderful. Beautifully illustrated in primary colors, the pictures of this hippopotamus family will delight readers. The unique textures were created by applying gouache over hand-cut stencils, plastic and wire meshes, masking tape, and punched-out patterns. Children with siblings will relate to this young hippo, whose expressions are priceless.-Kristin de Lacoste, South Regional Public Library, Pembroke Pines, FL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ms. Mump�s canny instincts as a baby-sitter help Shirley appreciate the little bundle of attention-grabber that is her brother. Shirley, a young hippopotamus, is a little jealous of all the interest shown in her baby brother Stanley. Her father goo-goo�s over the mite while changing his diapers; her mother just loves the way he wrinkles his nose�"Wonderful," they warble. Shirley thinks Stanley looks like a prune with legs like a turkey. Shirley carries his bag when the family goes shopping: "Wonderful. He rides. I walk." Then Ms. Mump arrives to baby-sit. Since Stanley is sleeping�and since Ms. Mump has seen how the baby�s parents lavish attention on him�Shirley gets her undivided consideration. "Wonderful," says Ms. Mump to Shirley�s cookies and dance steps. When Stanley wakes, Ms. Mump has Shirley help. She notes how babies are notorious for needing to be changed and feed and burped and entertained. "Revolting," says Ms. Mump in mock horror. As Shirley accomplishes each task, she gains in her protective instincts, and even begins to enjoy Stanley�s company. Ms. Mump serving as a foil to bring Shirley and Stanley close is a nice twist (and the smile parked on her puss will let young readers in on the ruse). Equally neat are the illustrations�an eye-stopping application of gouache on hand-cut stencils, plastic and wire mesh, and old industrial patterns, finished off with pen and ink�making this a worthy addition to any picture book collection. (Picture book. 3-7)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
8.75(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Valiska Gregory is the author of A Valentine For Norman Noggs, illustrated by Marsha Winborn. The idea for Shirley's Wonderful Baby came from one of her favorite bookstore owners. When she asked Shirley Mullin of Kids Ink Children's Bookstore about her new grandchild, Shirley would always reply, "He's wonderful!" The author thought that an older sibling might have a slightly different point of view.

Ms. Gregory lives with her husband in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she is Writer-in-Residence at Butler University.

Bruce Degen is the bestselling author and illustrator of the beloved, perennial favorite Jamberry and numerous award-winning books for children. He is the author and illustrator of Daddy Is a Doodlebug and Sailaway Home as well as the illustrator of the highly acclaimed Magic School Bus series by Joanna Cole; the ever-popular Jesse Bear books by Nancy White Carlstrom; Jazzmatazz! by Stephanie Calmenson; and Shirley's Wonderful Baby by Valiska Gregory (available at your local library).

Bruce Degen's involvement with art has ranged from painting and printmaking to teaching art in New York City schools and directing an artists' lithography studio in Israel. Mr. Degen studied art at the Cooper Union and Pratt Institute. He was born in Brooklyn, New York—just like Charlie Muttnik—and now lives with his family in Connecticut.

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Shirley's Wonderful Baby 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Little hippo Shirley gets exactly what any child having difficulty adjusting to the arrival of a new sibling needs when Ms. Mump the babysitter arrives. Everyone thinks Shirley¿s baby brother Stanley is simply ¿wonderful.¿ Shirley doesn¿t understand as she questions ¿[w]hat¿s so wonderful about a baby with legs like a turkey,¿ ¿who looks like a prune,¿ drools and spits a lot, and can¿t even talk. She¿s elated when Ms. Mump arrives declaring she doesn¿t like babies and spends the entire afternoon playing with Shirley. Ms. Mump doesn¿t even want to take care of Stanley when he wakes up and needs attention. She just tells Shirley how to do it. Shirley changes his diaper, feeds, comforts, and entertains him. In the process, she bonds with him. Ms. Mump¿s broad smile of satisfaction in the end suggests this was her plan all along ¿ to trick Shirley into falling in love with Stanley. This heartwarming tale is told with charming, cartoonish hippos that dress and act like humans in settings that are an interesting mix of gouche over collage and finished with pen and ink. Recommended for all children aged 3 to 8 and highly recommended those with younger siblings.