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Shirley's Wonderful Baby    by Valiska Gregory & Bruce Degen order for
Shirley's Wonderful Baby
by Valiska Gregory
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2002 (2002)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This story of a rhino family's adjustment to a new infant is a lovely book to give to a baby's big sister. Shirley resents her new baby brother, because 'everything Stanley did was wonderful.' While everyone admires him, Shirley fumes that he has legs like a turkey and looks like a prune. She has to carry his things and rinse his pacifier ... 'He rides. I walk ... He spits. I rinse.'

Then Shirley's parents go out and leave the children with a new babysitter, the wise Mrs. Mump, who tells Shirley that 'I like my tea with two lumps of sugar and NO babies.' She has plenty of time and attention for the little girl, and when the baby wakes up, needs her help to change his diaper, feed, burp and entertain him. In the process, Shirley takes ownership of her little brother and his needs. As Mrs. Mump says, 'Babies are notorious for needing their sisters'.

A big sister or brother often feels left out when a new baby joins a family. Shirley's Wonderful Baby shows them that a baby has needs, that they can have a role in meeting them, and a special new relationship that's all their own.

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