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Betty Waterton. Illustrated by Joanne Fitzgerald.
Toronto, ON: Douglas & McIntyre, 1989.
32pp., cloth, $12.95.
ISBN 0-48899-059-2. A Groundwood Book. CIP.

Subject Heading:

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6

Reviewed by Theo Hersh.

Volume 18 Number 2
1990 March

No sooner does Sophia Figg confide to her husband that she is lonesome for babies than a dinghy of delightful toddlers drifts to the shore of their lighthouse island. The babies, led by three-year-old Rosie, follow Sophia up the hill to the lighthouse, where she feeds them plain noodles, changes diapers, lets them play, and lulls them to sleep. Captain Figg wakes the babies but their mothers arrive in the nick of time. The mothers had fallen asleep on a neighbouring island where they were picnicking and the babies floated away. The mothers promise Sophia from now on to picnic at the lighthouse.

This slight story is not among Waterton's best (A Salmon for Simon (Douglas & McIntyre, 1987), Pettranella ¹, etc.), but it is not without its charm. What saves the book from mediocrity are the delightful illustrations by Joanne Fitzgerald. The babies, as sweet as can be, are depicted in typical toddler poses: laughing, crying, mischief-making, and sleeping. Through it all, one little one contentedly sucks on a pacifier. The illustration of the babies, their backs to the reader, teetering and tottering up the steep, rocky hill to the lighthouse, is particularly captivating. Though the trek is perilous, the less-than-surefooted toddlers mount the hill oblivious to danger and completely confident.

Plain Noodles - the title has little relevance to the story - is a humorous and comforting picture-book for young children.

Theo Hersh, Toronto Public Library, Toronto, ON.

¹ Reviewed vol. IX/4 1981, p.281.

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