Ready, Set... Baby

Elizabeth Rusch, illus. by Qin Leng. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-544-47272-3

Rusch (Electrical Wizard) and Leng (A Family Is a Family Is a Family) assuage readers’ anxieties about new arrivals by channeling their advice through two elementary-school-age siblings who have just welcomed a baby to their house. Anna and Oliver star in the book’s many vignettes and address readers directly (think House of Cards without the menace), providing frank, this-too-shall-pass answers that reflect the realities of living with a newborn and their own sibling solidarity (displacement issues are barely addressed, even though Anna, who seems older than Oliver, must have felt them when he came along). Several pages are devoted to poop (“We were not prepared for how many times a day our baby would need a diaper change”), and the siblings note that—contrary to what well-meaning adults assert—babies are hardly new playmates. “Playing with a new baby is like playing with a loaf of bread,” Anna says. Leng’s matter-of-fact, well-observed cartooning, reminiscent of classic family magazines, underscores the book’s levelheaded, soothing message: you got this. Ages 4–7. [em]Author’s agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary. Illustrator’s agency: Shannon Associates. (Feb.) [/em]
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