From Publishers Weekly
Snazzy pictures in delectable springtime hues fortify an easily anticipated story line. Mrs. Morgan is the neighborhood crank: "Every time a ball lands on her lawn, she keeps it," says the narrator. "What does she do with them all?" he asks as an illustration pictures Mrs. Morgan decked out in a pointy witch's hat, stirring a caldron of lost toys by the light of a crescent moon. Before he declares the inevitable truce with Mrs. Morgan, he is certain she was "born mean"--and here Saltzberg shows us a bespectacled baby in a pram, pulling the stuffing out of a teddy bear. Throughout, Mrs. Morgan's pupils eerily float in her triangular glasses, and her house seems to sag and sway--quirky touches sure to amuse Saltzberg's audience. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 5-8. Most readers will instantly recognize Mrs. Morgan. She's the neighbor who was "born mean," the silent confiscator of errant balls, the vigilant guardian of the perfect lawn. A young everyman tells of his landmark encounter with this intimidating lady after his favorite purple soccer ball makes an unlucky landing directly in Mrs. Morgan's arms. Reluctant to follow his parents' advice and simply ask for the ball's return, the boy imagines all manner of trickery to retrieve it. When he breaks down and pays the dreaded visit, Mrs. Morgan is suffering from a cold and will not negotiate. But when he performs a neighborly act of kindness, all the lost balls reappear and he concludes that "some people are full of surprises!" The boy's forthright narration rings true, and Saltzberg's naive acrylic and color-pencil illustrations are a funny complement to the text. Children will be tickled by the fantasy images, including a baby Mrs. Morgan (with eyeglasses and a beauty mark) shredding her teddy bear. And everyone will get a "kick" out of Mrs. Morgan's ultimate return of the purple soccer ball! Elizabeth Bush