If you're a parent, you'll identify with Robie Harris' hilarious new book, Don't Forget to Come Back!, the story of a child determined not to have a babysitter. This fireball of a little heroine whips up her own brand of logic to convince mom and dad of the disasters likely to befall her in their absence. She warns them that a thunderstorm will come and blow the house down, that she'll get a stomachache and throw up, that she'll be eaten by a moose in their very own kitchen.
The girl's parents react perfectly to her theatrics: they're mildly sympathetic but unflappable, and as equally determined to go to the opera as their daughter is to have them stay. As the girl runs away (to a closet), they don their own coats and shout, "We miss you already, Sugar. Hope you won't be gone forever!"A popular children's author, Robie Harris has written a zippy text that's full of easy-to-read dialogue between family members, with much of the conversation presented in comic book-style balloons. Harry Bliss, cartoonist for The New Yorker, has also sketched his characters in comic-book style, with simple facial lines but wonderfully real details and expressions.
In the end, the parents leave, and a very nice babysitter named Sarah saves the evening. Yes, our heroine has a good time pretending to go to the South Pole, painting her toenails and using makeup to give herself a clown face. Most importantly, though, her parents do come home.
Bliss and Harris have teamed up to tackle a very tough subject for young children, and they do so with heartfelt emotion and humor. (Just take a look at the final spread I won't spoil the surprise!) It's no easy task to express a child's fears and still be reassuring, but this duo pulls it off. No doubt kids across the country will be shouting a new code phrase to their departing parents after sharing this book: "Don't forget to come back!"