Since her father was away on an extended business trip when his new baby daughter was born, Eloise writes him short letters about the progress and changes in the new baby. Eloise was not particularly enthralled with the baby's arrival but through the letters that she and her friend, Joanne, write and the things they do with the baby, the reader feels Eloise adapting to and loving this new "sausage roll" shaped infant. This book, written specifically for 3rd grade readers, identifies the feelings, concerns and wonders that a young sibling might feel when a new addition comes into a family. Although the book seems a bit confusing at first, clever ideas are introduced through the letter exchange. Puzzles and activities are included at the end of the book. One of the black-and-white illustrations depicts Eloise as left handed.
Gr 3-4Eloise Trombly has a new baby sister named Mary Alice who, she thinks, looks like a sausage roll. Their father, who is away on business, has yet to see his new daughter, but Eloise keeps him informed through letters detailing her activities and by sending "real" pictures, not like the fake ones her mother has taken by a photographer. Eloise attempts to introduce Mary Alice to their father by holding a photograph of him close to the infant's face and by telling her some facts about him. When Dad finally comes home and meets Mary Alice, the family sees that it will take a little while for the baby to get used to having a real live father instead of just a photograph. The author portrays the feelings of the main character in a truthful, sometimes endearing way. The letters between father and daughter are fresh and funny. The depiction of a close-knit family, albeit one with a father who is often absent, shows readers that a family may be different in some ways but can still share a loving, caring relationship. Children will enjoy this story, especially those who have had experiences with new siblings. The black-and-white sketches capture important moments. A few puzzles, mazes, and other games related to the story encourage children to write in the book.Carrie A. Guarria, Lindenhurst Memorial Library, NY
An offering in the Chapters series from Holmes (Letters to Julia, p. 381) takes another look at the well-worn subject of baby siblings. Eloise has a new sister named Mary Alice. Her mother thinks the baby is perfect, but Eloise thinks she looks more like a sausage roll than anything elseand she'd rather not even think about the way Mary Alice sounds and smells. In fact, she'd prefer to ignore her completely, but that's impossible; Eloise's father is away on an extended top-secret government job, and he's asked Eloise to report on Mary Alice's progress. With her friend Jenny, Eloise cooks up a surprise for her father's return: They show Mary Alice his picture every day so she'll recognize him from the start. Things don't turn out quite as they plannedthe full-size, fully animated father scares Mary Alice, accustomed to the nice, still picture, but he's willing to be patient. The plot is transparent, and the story is clipped and rushed, but Holmes shoehorns in plenty of humor, believable characterizations, and a satisfying conclusion.