What can be more uplifting than a moment of sharing between parent and child? Mom's first call summoning Matilda to breakfast seems to be the start of an ordinary day. But Matilda has different plans. As she fumbles, improvises and even fights off a playful cat, Matilda frantically stalls for the time she needs to wrap her mom's birthday surprise. And it's all worth it, for breakfast becomes the tender exchange of giving and receiving. But after all the time Mom spends setting the table, why do they resort to breakfast in bed? The mounting excitement in the story, with dialogue between the pair comprising the only text, is highlighted by Weston's colorful illustrations, which juxtapose the upstairs and downstairs activities. Ages 3-6. (September)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2 Mom is downstairs fixing a special breakfast and calling her daughter; young Matilda is upstairs wrapping a surprise birthday present and frantically stalling for time. That is the basic situation upon which the plot is grounded. The tension increases in both places as Mom becomes increasingly irritated with Matilda's dallying, and Matilda struggles to complete her birthday project. Because the story is told entirely in dialogue, details are provided visually, something that the illustrator does very skillfully. In addition, the book features interesting, unpredictable page divisions to accomodate the upstairs/downstairs interplay of the plot. The brief text and full-color illustrations filled with homey details are woven together naturally. Children will no doubt be intrigued by the silent third member of this familya catwatching, tugging at ribbons, moving through rooms, darting up and down the stairs. The cat's antics form a fascinating visual subplot that unfolds across the pages. The fact that this is a single-parent family is a definite, if understated, bonus, as is the warm and realistic tone. This is a story that will work well as a read-aloud, and, because of the one line of easy text per illustration, one that will be accessible to beginning readers. Lee Bock, Brown County Public Libraries, Green Bay, Wis.