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Mr. Large in Charge Hardcover – March 27, 2007
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Featuring a charming elephant clan, this Mr. Momstyle tale offers an affectionate, funny portrayal of a family's bumbling efforts to help a sick parent. Mr. Large prescribes bed rest for his under-the-weather wife, assuring her he'll take care of everything, from chores to fun. However, rest proves elusive as the dad and kids enthusiastically get busy. Baby awakens Mom by "giving her a thorough dusting" (and periodically requesting "a big huggy"), and who could sleep through all of those alarming vacuum-crunching sounds and kitchen smells? But the good intentions behind their efforts carry the day, which culminates with everyone cozying up in Mom's bed for snacks. The droll prose descriptively relates events and reactions, while chaotic, witty colored-pencil illustrations, in cheery hues and festive patterns, portray the characters in familiar environments, with amusing elephant-specific details. An entertaining read for parents and kids to enjoy together, especially for those who see their own family dynamics in Mrs. Large's crucial household role. Rosenfeld, Shelle
Even small families recognise themselves in the Large family... Jill Murphy's latest insightful snapshot of parenthood [is] a thumpingly entertaining picture book about elephants, and us. The Sunday Times The Large family books are a personal favourite - I can so sympathise with Mrs Large... Another brilliant story. Read it and smile. Angels and Urchins --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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How much rest will Mrs Large get? With noisy screaming children, the littlest elephants keep coming into the bedroom, and lets not forget the burnt lunch. Not a lot it would seem.
The Large Family books were first published in the 1980’s. Since then they have grown in popularity, and there was even a TV series based on them.
These beloved stories all feature a lovable, normal family (even if they are elephants), comprising of Mr and Mrs Large, and their four children, Lester, Luke, Laura and the baby Lucy.
What makes this series a firm favourite is how relatable to real life that they are. I can especially relate to this particular story, because I’m not allowed to be sick as mayhem would break out in my house.
Jill Murphy didn’t just write this wonderful book, she also illustrated it, and they are some beautiful illustrations throughout that certainly capture the heart of the story.
Preschoolers, and young children will adore this book. The Large Family books have been read by families for many years, and long may it stay that way.
Reviewed on Whispering Stories Book Blog
*I received a free a copy, which I voluntarily reviewed
The worst part is that it's not fun to read aloud. For example, when the baby throws her tantrum, the text reads:
"Mommy, huggy! screamed the baby. "WANT MY MOMMY! BIG HUGGY NOW!"
Laura stuffed the baby under her arm and wrestled her out the door. "Don't worry, Mom," she called as she closed the door behind them. "I'll take her down to Dad."
"Don't want Dad," bellowed the baby. "Want Mom! WANT MY MOMMY!"
Ugh. I try to do the voices, but I don't want to be mimicking a screaming toddler when I am reading bedtime stories. The book wobbles from baby talk ("big huggy" is used a lot in the book) to phrases that might be too difficult for most preschoolers, such as, "Upstairs, Mrs. Large was jolted from the brink of sleep by the astonishing amount of noise blasting up through the floor."
So, we have the regressive message that only the mother in the family can competently clean the house, cook the meals, and look after the children. This is exactly what my daughter, who is currently experimenting with claiming to be "too little" to clean her room, wants to believe, so I don't welcome the reinforcement from this book. We have the ironic humour, which will probably go right over the heads of young readers. And we have the difficulty in reading this book aloud.
I would have happily overlooked all of these flaws if the book had done something imaginative. Fathers often parent differently than mothers, and they have invaluable experiences to offer. Mr. Large may fail at trying to be Mrs. Large, but his day with the children could have reflected his own parenting interests, as opposed to his incompetence with household chores. Maybe he takes them to a museum, or an art show, or teaches them a new skill, or shows them how something works, or plays a new game with them, or takes them adventuring, or exploring their city, or does any of the millions of awesome things stay-at-home dads do for their kids every day. The stereotype of the father who watches sports on tv and burns dinner has been tiresome since the 1970s.