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Bye-bye, Crib

Alison McGhee, Author, Ross MacDonald, Illustrator
Alison McGhee, Author, Ross MacDonald, Illustrator , illus. by Ross MacDonald. S&S/Wiseman $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4169-1621-5
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With some reluctance, a blond, blue-eyed boy graduates from his small but secure crib. McGhee (A Very Brave Witch ) catches every fluctuation of the child narrator's voice as he wavers between confidence and hesitation. “I'm a big boy now. You know what that means,” the boy announces, turning away from a proffered bottle and diaper. His stuffed animal, Baby Kitty, mirrors his no-thanks gesture, and the two flex their muscles to prove they're tough. On the other hand, the hero reflects, “Not every big boy wants to sleep in a big bed.” Nearby, the bed's eye-like pillows glare, and its blanket drapes in a menacing frown. The boy and Baby Kitty take matters in hand, tossing familiar objects onto the mattress (“How is it over there, Big Pillow?”) before making the leap. This sympathetic text has a big potential for preciousness, but MacDonald (Another Perfect Day ) tamps it down with witty allusions to retro comics. Artful voice bubbles guide readers across the pages, while MacDonald's golds, chocolates and saturated blues suggest lithographed Sunday funnies. MacDonald's nostalgic imagery emphasizes the childhood rite of passage, demonstrating that a small move can be an act of bravado. Ages 2-6. (Mar.)

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