Marge in Charge and the Stolen Treasure

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
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Light, breezy stories in sequel about wacky babysitter.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

In one of the stories, kids make a map of their neighborhood, noting important locations. Jemima keeps an explorer’s notebook as they walk to the pool, which could inspire kids to keep an observational notebook. Some British words like posh and gobsmacked. Shows elements of a formal wedding, for instance ring bearer.

Positive Messages

Having a babysitter can be fun. Different adults have different styles of caregiving. Rules are not necessarily hard and fast. If you don't want to do something, making up a fantasy and pretending it's something else can help. If you're afraid of something, you can still try.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Marge is an inventive, playful caregiver. She gets the kids to do things they’re afraid of or don't want to do by spinning them as fantasies or adventures, for instance, as a pirate scenario. Jemima and Jakey both adapt easily to being cared for by an adult other than their parents. Jemima's responsible and takes the reins when Marge falls down on the job.

Violence & Scariness

Baby Zara makes a "doo-doo" in her diaper, which they also call "poop."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that actress-author Isla Fisher's Marge in Charge and the Stolen Treasure is a the second in her Marge in Charge series about a wacky babysitter. Inspired by bedtime stories she says she tells her own kids, it features a white and well-to-do family with a mom, dad, brother, and sister, and the book's sprinkled very lightly with Britishisms like "posh" and "gobsmacked." Because it's about an unusual but fun babysitter who ignores rules but gets kids to do things they don't want to, it mimics well-known kids' books like Mary Poppins and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. In a mishap at a wedding, part of the bride's wedding dress becomes see-through and the kids see her underwear. The book is composed of three stories, around 50 pages each, which might be long for the young readers the book's aimed at.

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What's the story?

MARGE IN CHARGE AND THE STOLEN TREASURE is composed of three long stories. In the first, a baby cousin comes to visit Jemima and her brother Jakey. Though baby Zara wreaks havoc, babysitter Marge involves her charges by spinning baby care as a pirate adventure. The second story’s set at the swimming pool, where Jemima's self-conscious about using the diving board, and Jakey's afraid to put his head in the water. Marge inspires them both, distracting the others from looking at Jemima by doing a cannonball, and lending Jake a pair of goggles she claims she used when she piloted her plane across the Atlantic. The third story takes place at a family wedding, in which Marge loses then finds baby Zara, who's made off with the rings.

Is it any good?

These stories featuring a zany babysitter have a slaphappy silliness that may get kids giggling, but can also feel slapdash. Marge in Charge and the Stolen Treasure has the strengths and weaknesses of the first book in the series. The message can get a bit muddled. Marge is fun but can be irresponsible, so some readers might find her not freeing as intended but disturbing. While watching the baby, she falls asleep in the stroller; when the baby messes her diaper, Marge hides, so Jemima's the one who has to change it; at the wedding, Marge loses the baby. It's also odd for the age group that the stories are long, running around 50 pages each. Kids graduating to independently reading chapter books are usually helped by frequent breaks and short chapters. The stories are episodic -- a slice of life with a dollop of zany -- so some kids may find them an amusing, entertaining read.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the babysitter in Marge in Charge and the Stolen Treasure. What do the kids like about her? Do you think you'd like having Marge as a babysitter?

  • How does Marge get the kids to do things they don't want to do or that they're afraid of? Can you find examples in all three stories?

  • Do you ever have babysitters? Do they do things differently than your parents do?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love humor snd family stories

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