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Jill Murphy is one of Britain's most treasured author-illustrators, who wrote and illustrated her first book, the bestselling The Worst Witch, while still only eighteen. She then went on to create the award-winning Large Family series - a series which has sold over five million copies worldwide, been adapted for television and includes the Kate Greenaway commended All in One Piece and the shortlisted A Quiet Night In. Jill's other characters include a small monster called Marlon who appeared in the acclaimed picture books The Last Noo-noo and All For One, and a bunny called Ruby, who stars in Meltdown! Jill lives in Cornwall. Find Jill online at www.jillmurphy.moonfruit.com.
K-Gr 2 Murphy's second story about the Larges continues the household adventures of an elephant family with four preschool-age children. While Mr. and Mrs. Large get ready for the office dinner dance, the children mess and meddle until the exasperated Mrs. Large shouts, ``Can't I have just one night to myself? One night when I am not covered in jam and poster paint?'' As she walks out the door on the arm of her husband, however, sharp observers will note that although she may have a night out, it is not without decoration. Murphy's ink line and colored pencil renderings of household and elephant details are apt: a child-made picture of Babar hangs in the kitchen; trunks are useful as well as affectionate appendages. Left-hand text is accompanied by small vignettes which contribute to the narrative rather than merely decorate. Told from a mother's point of view like its predecessor, Five Minutes' Peace (Putnam, 1986), the story will definitely appeal to beleaguered parents. But the humor and the joke being on, or all over, Mom will also tickle child readers. Susan Hepler, Windsor Public Library, Conn.
"* "Family life is beautifully observed with a humour that appeals to both adult and child." The Daily Telegraph"
Five Minutes' Peace delivered into the hands of readers a near-perfect reflection of a family's typically calamitous morning; now the adult elephants are dressing for an evening out, and their well-meaning but high-spirited children won't leave them alone. They stuff Mrs. Large's hosiery with toys, mess with makeup and clatter around in high heels. She, of course, loses her temper, which has the effect of subduing her children. But she inadvertently sits on a paintbox and goes out unaware that her dress is adorned with small bright patches of color. Sharp-eyed readers will spot this development; others will want to go through the story again to find out when it all happened. Five Minutes' Peace fans may not find the antics in this followup quite as funny as its predecessor. But with its resemblance to real life, this continuing saga of the beleaguered Mrs. Large and her boisterous offspring is still a delight. Ages 2-6. (September)