Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Book #45: Five Minutes’ Peace by Jill Murphy

Image from OpenLibrary.org

Mrs. Large has 3 rambunctious elephant children who are quite a handful. So she makes herself a tray of breakfast and tries to sneak out the kitchen door, but the kids want to know where she’s going. Mrs. Large says she just wants 5 minutes’ peace from them to take a bath. The kids decide their mom can’t possibly want that much time away from them and one by one they invade the bathroom, reading stories, playing music, and bringing bath toys. Before she knows it, the kids have joined her splashing about in the tub. Mrs. Large gets out of the bath and manages to get 3 minutes and 45 seconds of peace in the kitchen before the kids come trooping down the stairs to find her.

The illustrations are delightful, full of exasperated looks from Mrs. Large and messy abandon from the kids. I especially love the baby elephant, who spends quite a few pages with a cereal bowl on his head and is so excited he forgets to take his clothes off before jumping into the tub. The text is short and printed in a large font, making it easy for a child who’s learning to read to follow along.

This is a great book for Mother’s Day, whether to read during storytime or to give as a gift. Moms will appreciate the Mrs. Large’s plight and kids will love the humorous pictures and antics of her children. After you read the book ask the kids why they think Mrs. Large wanted 5 minutes’ peace from her kids. They probably won’t get that she just wants time alone, but their answers are sure to be amusing.

If you’re reading this at home, this is lovely book to read while your child is in the bath tub. After you read the book, bring out some bath toys and retell the story together with the toys. If you’re reading it to a group, find a large box to act as a bath tub (check furniture or appliance stores) and have the kids act out the story.

Use this book as an addition to an elephant themed storytime and follow it with the Five Little Elephants rhyme, which can be done using your fingers, stuffed animals, or a flannelboard.


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