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Sarah Ellis.
Vancouver, BC: Groundwood, 1986.
144pp., paper, $6.95.
ISBN 0-88899-047-2. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Family-Juvenile fiction.
Infants-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up

Reviewed by Joan McGrath.

Volume 15 Number 1
1987 January

The unexpected addition of a baby to a family that had seemed to be complete (mother, father, grown-up and moved-out son Rowan, fourteen-year-old Simon and eleven-year-old Jessica) turns a (fairly) ordered way of life upside-down. The Robertsons have long since forgotten their baby skills and given away the baby furniture. All the vital equipment such as crib, stroller, and mountains of diapers must be re-acquired. Mom, an engineer must stop working for a time.

The reader experiences the arrival of little Lucie through the perceptions of likeable young Jessica. Up till now, she has been the baby of the family, and she has a tiny cloud of ambivalent feeling about the whole enterprise, including her own sudden change of status. It is pretty well dispelled by the time she and her best friend Margaret have completed the "Baby Project," a study of the birth of an infant, to present to their class. Lucie herself, once she finally arrives, wins all hearts in effortless baby fashion. The family of five has become a happy family of six.

Then tragedy strikes. The emotional turmoil of a baby's birth is as nothing to that caused by its untimely death. Beloved baby Lucie is a victim of mysterious crib death, the killer of apparently healthy sleeping infants. The Robertson family is desolated, and its members must find their own lonely ways back to an altered happiness in a world from which one aspect of love has departed forever. This is a painful, moving story, about facing the necessity for life to go on and about the precious nature of unexamined taken-for-granted joy. Jessica is a first-rate characterization. (One tiny quibble, from the "how's that again?" department. Jessica's "Baby Project" announces that the gene for blue eyes is dominant, that for brown, recessive. Check your facts, Jess).

Joan McGrath, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, ON.
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