January 15, 2013

An island of babies

Baby Island
by Carol Ryrie Brink

Brink, author of the Newbery-winning Caddie Woodlawn is also the writer of this fanciful story. In a foreward, she mentions a time long past when it was fashionable for young girls to borrow the neighbors' babies. These girls weren't exactly babysitters; they simply liked babies, and parents were much more trusting back then.

In Baby Island, twelve-year-old Mary Wallace and her younger sister Jean, are accidentally set adrift when their ocean liner founders during a storm. With them are four babies, the children of some of the ship's passengers. Their lifeboat drifts onto a tropical island, where the girls set up camp. They pass the time rather pleasantly, with no real thought of rescue, unless you count the messages in the bottles that Jean sends out every week. They also meet another island resident, a Mr. 'Arvey Peterkin, who isn't fond of young'uns. The girls set about reforming him, and a friendship is eventually reached.

An unusual, old-fashioned, and amusing story if one can suspend disbelief. The girls encounter no real danger and have no trouble finding food and water. And the babies are pretty easy to care for. But then, this is a fantasy after all.

For girls who can't get enough of babies.

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