What the No-Good Baby Is Good for

Elise Broach, Author, Abby Carter, Illustrator
Elise Broach, Author, Abby Carter, Illustrator Putnam Publishing Group $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-23877-2
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Ever since his baby sister arrived more than six months ago, John has been a patient older brother. But enough is enough. \x93It is time for her to go,\x94 he announces\x97and surprisingly, his mother agrees. As they pack up baby\x92s things, however, John begins to realize that maybe having a baby sister has its advantages. For one thing, she makes him look good: \x93She is good for making noise at the library, because she\x92s always louder than I am,\x94 he says, remembering a time when his sister showed a full-throated disrespect for decorum. As the list of things the no-good baby is good for grows, John realizes that maybe he just needs a daylong break from her antics (courtesy of Grandma)\x97and some quality time alone with Mom. Broach\x92s (Wet Dog!, reviewed below) text, largely a dialogue between mother and son, emits the brisk, plainspoken ring of authenticity; the repetition of John\x92s pet phrase, \x93that no-good baby is good for nothing,\x94 should satisfy older siblings\x92 unrelenting resentment about their own new arrivals. Carter\x92s (Slithery Jake) watercolors, occupying a realm between realism and cartooning, wisely keep the focus on the comically tense interplay between John and his adoring, pesky sister. John\x92s mother, although a constant presence, is only fully revealed on the final page. Author and illustrator cover familiar ground with brisk assurance and lots of warmhearted humor. Ages 3-up. (May)
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