cover image LOVE SONG FOR A BABY


Marion Dane Bauer, , illus. by Dan Andreasen. . S&S, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82268-1

"Come hear a song about a baby,/ a very special baby./ Come hear a song about you," begins this heartfelt ode to a baby's first experiences. Bauer's (My Mother Is Mine) simile-laden, simple verses boast songlike rhythms, always ending with the phrase, "we loved you" (e.g., "When you came into our arms,/ slippery as salmon,/ puckered as prunes,/ loud as a lion,/ already we knew,/ we loved you"). Andreasen (A Quiet Place) in perhaps his most intimate work yet, creates oil paintings that soften the baby's features in a series of cascading parallel lines to form an almost impressionistic view of the child. After Bauer extends the invitation with the opening lines, the artist shows a toddler—clearly the baby at the book's center—poised as if about to hear about his or her babyhood. In the next spread, Andreasen shows the father placing his ear on the mother's very expectant belly; he then uses succeeding illustrations to portray the baby's development, from smiling newborn to endearing toddler. Feathery and heavy brush strokes add texture to paintings that exude an antique quality with their ruddy hues and creamy, pale pink matte borders. The accoutrements of infancy (blocks, pacifier, bib and booties) appear in vignettes beneath each text block to complement the facing illustrations. With its warm words and joyful portraits, this accessible volume will be a favorite among young listeners. Ages 1-5. (Sept.)