When that terrible baby chews up the eye patch of Mark's pirate costume or rips Eleanor's gorilla poster off the wall or gets water all over the bathroom floor or knocks over the garbage can, their mother hears none of Mark and Eleanor's explanations--she just points to the smile on the baby's face and says, ``That is a perfect angel. Don't blame the baby.'' Mark and Eleanor fantasize about making the baby walk the plank or putting the baby in the zoo (labeled ``Tyrannobaby Americanus''). However, after saving their sibling from crawling blithely down the stairs, they declare, ``It's not such a terrible baby, really.'' In the end, the two decide to play outside while their unsuspecting mother tends her angel all by herself. Meddaugh's ( Martha Speaks ) droll illustrations feature a goggle-eyed, not altogether charming baby whose footed sleeper pajamas resemble striped prison garb, and a yellow cat (named Dogbiscuit) who frantically avoids the baby's grasp. Although the story is somewhat familiar, Armstrong's ( Hugh Can Do ) wry narrative and Meddaugh's action-filled, comical drawings are fresh and funny. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-The star of this picture-book comedy is an impish pre-toddler whose typical stunts drive his siblings to their wits' end. The black-and-white striped-sleeper clad crawler looks like a cartoon convict with its bald head and villainous expressions of delight at the trouble it causes. It is nameless and genderless: all that matters is that it is terrible! It wreaks havoc in Mark and Eleanor's rooms, abuses the cat, and crawls through the house leaving a swath of destruction in its wake. The problem is that the older kids must take all the blame, for in its mother's eyes, this terrible baby can do no wrong. Readers will feel indignant at the injustice. By the end of the story, the message comes through that mothers can be fair after all, that Mark and Eleanor actually care about the little tot, and that there really is no such thing as a terrible baby. Text is brief enough for a quick read-aloud, while detailed illustrations invite leisurely examination and enjoyment. Illustrations echo Meddaugh's style in Martha Speaks (1992) and Tree of Birds (1990, both Houghton)-cartoons full of humor and rich facial expressions, with plenty of white surrounding the figures. This is a fun pesky-sibling story that is well written, expressively illustrated, and truly helpful in bringing out the lighter side of an exasperating situation.-Valerie Lennox, Jacksonville Public Library, FL
Eleanor and her brother Mark have reason to worry. The terrible baby in their house is a top-speed crawler and wrecking ball combined. Worst of all, they keep getting the blame when their mother discovers the trail of disaster left by the "perfect angel." Finally, when the baby follows the cat out the cat flap and into the world, Eleanor and Mark must leap to its rescue. They discover that it's not such a terrible baby after all (definitely worth saving), and their mother discovers that her baby truly is a " speedy crawler." With madcap pictures by the illustrator of "Martha Speaks" (a "Booklist" Books for Youth Editors' Choice '92) and "Amanda's Perfect Hair" (1993) and a story that will certainly ring true to all older siblings having to endure a baby in the house, this is a picture book that is easy to like.