A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Some foreign words translated: bonjour, buon giorno, crêpes, merci. Ingredients to make pancakes.
It can be fun to have a babysitter, someone caring for you who's not your parent. First impressions can be deceiving, and you can end up liking and enjoying someone you were skeptical about.
Positive Role Models
Though Jemima's sometimes exasperated at her little brother's behavior, she loves him. Jemima worries about her parents' reaction, and about getting places on time, and tries to keep things on track.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Marge in Charge by actress Isla Fisher is the first book in a projected series featuring a kooky babysitter in the tradition of Mary Poppins, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, and Amelia Bedelia. Fisher includes three stories in the first book, which she says were inspired by ones she told her own kids at bedtime. Each story's a bit over 50 pages, and since they aren't divided into chapters, they may feel a bit long for young readers. The family, with a mom, dad, older sister, and younger brother, is white and well-off -- the babysitter drives a Mini Cooper -- and there are kids of color pictured in the art. The story's thin, but the text has a bouncy feel, and some kids may find it a breezy read.
Is It Any Good?
This amiable book about a wacky, unpredictable babysitter feels like something we've read before, and Mary Poppins is a hard act to follow. The action in Marge in Charge feels more random than forward moving, and some of the scenarios seem improbable. For instance, Marge smears brown hair dye on her face, thinking it's a mudpack, but how does it wash off? And she encourages the kids to fill a water gun with apple juice, but isn't the house then covered in sticky juice? Later, when a pancake falls on her head, she pours syrup all over her hair, and the kids dig in and eat the pancake. There doesn't seem to be much method to Marge's madness, and her behavior usually doesn't seem charming or slyly savvy. While we might expect her to find wacky ways to get the kids to do their chores, or present a free-spirited alternative to drab and dull routine, she often just seems unbalanced.
Isla Fisher's a talented and accomplished comic actress, and her book is lively, with a spirit of fun, so kids may enjoy it. But the humor and focus could be sharper.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.