Pecan Pie Baby

Jacqueline Woodson, illus. by Sophie Blackall, Putnam, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-23987-8
Mama is pregnant with what soon-to-be sibling Gia refers to as "the ding-dang baby." Among the indignities she suffers: the in utero baby is already copying Gia's love of pecan pie—a culinary obsession that Gia thought she could share with Mama alone. "So that baby's just being a copycat!" gripes Gia. Newbery Honor author Woodson (Show Way) doesn't have new insights into displacement fears: the usual anxieties, oblivious relatives, and reassurances populate her story. But what she does have to say still resonates: "I know what I'm going to miss the most," Gia complains after an outburst at Thanksgiving dinner. "My whole, whole life." Blackall's (Big Red Lollipop) stylized ink and watercolor images, with their muted colors and slightly flattened perspectives, have a strong sense of style and calming warmth, as in a scene where Gia sits on the stoop, special memories of her mother spooling outward in squiggly thought bubbles. Gia may have moments when she feels "real, real, real alone," but readers will sense that Mama's love endures—and that Gia is going to be a very cool older sister. Ages 5–8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/27/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
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