Alpha and the Dirty Baby

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9780374302412: Alpha and the Dirty Baby

When a devil's imp and his wife impersonate her parents, Alpha uses soap and water to deal with them and their baby.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Alpha's parents' childish quarrel (``You forgot to wash my nightshirt!'' ``Wash it yourself, lazybones''... ``I've got a good mind to go off and join the navy'') is overheard by a devil's imp who takes the opportunity of turning Papa into a lump of coal and taking his place while his wife, bringing along their baby, replaces cross Mama. Alpha isn't fooled for a minute, but she bides her time, following the imps' orders to ``unmake the beds and bring the garbage in.'' Then, as soon as they go to bed (without brushing their teeth, of course), she gets to work, cleaning up for all she's worth. When the imps find her washing their baby, they're horrified. They bring back Mama and Papa and hop off, leaving the little family peaceable at last. Transforming the parents' frightening behavior into a fantasy in which the child seizes the initiative, cleverly ousting the intruders, Cole tells a lively, preposterous tale full of role reversals that are sure to delight young readers. His language is spare, energetic, and laced with humor; his pencil and watercolor art swirls with the imps' disorder (they're not evil, just rowdy), their flailing figures and raucous faces countered by Alpha's resolute serenity. A thoroughly entertaining story with a serious (but unobtrusive) theme. (Picture book. 4-8) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Cole ( The Goats ; The Giant's Toe ) further enhances his standing as a gifted author and illustrator with this boisterous, highly original tale. Sensing an opportunity in a parental spat, two devil's imps turn Alpha's Papa and Mama into a lump of coal and a green egg, respectively. "But an imp is never satisfied with one evil deed when he can do another," so they assume the parents' identities and invade the house. Accompanied by their dirty baby (one of the goofiest-looking infants ever to grace the pages of a picture book), they proceed to turn Alpha's home upside-down. ("Sweep the ashes out of the fire, Alpha. The floor's too clean.") But Alpha, as resourceful as the best fairy tale heroines, bides her time until she sees an opportunity of her own--and seizes it with glorious results. Cole's text is understated and poetic, and his line and wash illustrations--showing limbs flailing helter-skelter--are supremely stimulating, whether depicting Alpha's quiet fortitude or her parents' riotous metamorphoses. Cole's imagination triumphs again. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Cole, Brock
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux (J) (1991)
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