Children’s Book of the Week: Five Minutes’ Peace

by | Feb 7, 2011 | Children's Book of the Week | 1 comment

Five Minutes’ Peace by Jill Murphy

This is one of those rare books that totally understands the trials of both children and parents, humorously appeals to those purported difficulties, and makes everyone feel happy and jolly and like they’ve been heard. Mrs. Large (an elephant) tries to sneak off to the bath so she can get away from her adorable, meddlesome children. They, of course, want to know what she’s doing, and follow her right up the stairs. Mrs. Large tells them to go back downstairs, that she only wants “Five minutes’ peace from you lot.” They give her all of one minutes’ peace and then descend on her and know how to push all her buttons (the older boy, Lester, wants to play a tune for her on his recorder, and points out that he’s been practicing, like “you told me to!”).

They all end up climbing into the bathtub with her, which makes her get out, and try to escape to the kitchen (which is a mess, due to the children’s sloppy eating habits, which is what she was trying to escape from in the first place). She gets “three minutes and forty-five seconds of peace before they all come and find her.”

My Aunt Sandra sent us this book last summer, and we really read it all the time. I read it and feel glad that I’m not the only one who wants to escape from my children and just be all by myself for a while, and the kids feel like they’re not the only children who can’t understand why on earth their parents would ever want to leave the room that they’re in. Oh! And the best part of this book is that it comes with a CD, which my children might like listening to even more than hearing me read it, so I actually get five minutes’ peace thanks to this book.

I’m looking forward to other Large Family books based on my life, like maybe Mrs. Large Tries to Get Winter Gear on Her Children and Get Out the Door in Under an Hour or perhaps  Mrs. Large Explains to Her Screaming Child that Show and Tell Objects are Not Her Responsibility, and it is Not Actually Her Fault that It Was Left Behind by the Back Door.

1 Comment

  1. Christina

    Nora loves this book too. She loves the little one who gets in the bath without his clothes on. She always asks “why? why does she go to the bath by herself? why?”


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