An unseen narrator practically sings the verses of this celebratory book, which begins with an announcement and an invitation: ""Someone's come to our house./ Yes, yes, bless-a-my-soul!/ Bright new start,/ Brand new heart--/ Come and see at our house."" Carpenter's (Only a Star) sunny paintings show guests convening at a large old house, its porch hung with a ""Welcome"" banner, where a family is rejoicing. The reason for the festivities isn't spelled out until the penultimate spread, in which two children beam at a smiling baby who lays swaddled in a crib (""Angels keep watch so deep./ Peace, peace, bless-a-my-soul,"" read the first lines of the accompanying text). Appelt's (I See the Moon) verses are full of happiness; they might even tilt into sentimentality but for the robust art. Bustling with energy, the illustrations convey a host of lifelike scenarios unfolding throughout the party: an overly made-up woman in a tight dress pinches the cheek of a barely tolerant boy, a toddler swipes some frosting off an angel cake, a woman sneaks a kiss with the family dog. The result is a book that captures the jubilation and awe surrounding a family birth (""Baby's here/ God is near,"" the text concludes). Given the many titles that address the arrival of a new sibling in terms of the jealousy he or she may arouse, this volume will be welcomed for its convincingly enthusiastic voice. Ages 2-8. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1999 Release date: 04/01/1999 Genre: Children's
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