Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Babysitters' Club: Sitting Duck by Jackie Urbanovic

"Babysitting is easy!" said Brody. Our only job will be to keep her out of trouble."

"Sure," said Max. "How much trouble could a puppy get into, anyway?"

"Out the back door, QUICK!" yelled Bebe.

Most of Irene's furred and feathered pets speedily fly the coop when they hear that babysitting sheepdog Brody's rambunctious niece Anabel is on the day's docket. Brody and mallard Max are confident, however, that they have the right stuff to handle Anabel's puppy capers.

"Hiya! Hiya! Let's PLAY!" shouted Anabel.

And play they do. Anabel wraps Uncle Brody in most of a roll of toilet paper in her idea of "dress up," and Uncle Max gets plunked into the stockpot in a reprise of "Duck Soup," while Anabel plays chef. Playing ball takes out a vase and a couple of lamps. Taking in the ruins of Irene's living room and kitchen, Max opts for some outdoor exercise for the still energetic Anabel while Brody finishes her "nap" for her.

Max nixes swinging and swimming with the burly Anabel, but bouncing on the trampoline seems safe, right? But Anabel again gets boisterous, and her biggest bounce takes her so high that she finds herself snagged on a tree limb high above the trampoline. It's time for Max to call in the reserves, and Irene's little family of adopted shelter pets convenes for a creative rescue.

In her fourth installment with that manic mallard Max, Urbanovic's expressive illustrations carry the day in Sitting Duck (Harper, 2010). The final double-page spread hilariously shows the exhausted Brody somnolent amidst the seriously disheveled den, the finally recumbent Anabel snoozing on the floor, the maxed-out mallard Max snoring on her warm and furry tummy, and their long-suffering owner Irene, just home from work, musing over the mayhem.

Previous rib-ticklers in this series are Duck at the Door, Duck Soup, and most recently Duck and Cover.

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