What Shall We Do with the Boo-Hoo Baby?

Cressida Cowell, Author, Ingrid Godon, Illustrator Scholastic Press $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-439-15311-9
Duck, Cow, Cat and Dog may seem unlikely caregivers for a hysterical infant, but they have some reasonable ideas of how to mollify him--and they'll likely have readers hooting and howling all along the way. ""Feed him,"" says the dog, after a ducky toy doesn't work, and they offer the baby everything from bananas to cat chow, accompanied by a chipper refrain of moos, quacks, meows and bow-wows. But despite these and several other earnest attempts, nothing seems to halt the stream of tears from the round-headed, single-tufted tyke. Belgian artist Godon's pastels heighten the comedy by giving the howling baby one entire side of each full-bleed spread, while the well-meaning quartet huddles on the other. Finally, Duck strikes pay dirt by putting Boo-Hoo Baby down for a nap, where he stays just long enough for the animals to collapse from exhaustion (in the last spread, they slumber as the wide-eyed infant peers through the bars of the crib). Cowell (Don't Do That, Kitty Kilroy!) and Godon (the Nelly and Caesar board books) strip the familiar genre to its bare bones, and it feels almost new again. Cowell's sense of economy and pacing move the story along at a fast clip, while Godon calls attention to the situation's vaudevillian qualities by framing the spreads on the same plane, as if they were scenes from a stage. Ages 2-6. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
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