Baby Rock, Baby Roll

Stella Blackstone, Author, Denise Fraifeld, Illustrator, Fernando Azevedo, Illustrator Holiday House $13.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-1311-9
In this bright, bouncy British import for very young audiences, a multicultural trio of roly-poly babies (one is white, one is black and one is Asian) show their attempts at a wide range of activities throughout the seasons. Blackstone's simple, rhyming text is a parade of verbs (""Baby wash, Baby splash, Baby scrub. Baby brush, Baby comb, Baby rub""); even when the verbs are conceptually a stretch for this age group (e.g., ""shiver,"" ""heave,"" ""stroke"") the infectious, sing-song beat remains lively to the very last page, when the babies go to sleep. The illustrators' cartoons also keep things simple and, when the textual link is not obvious, they provide a visual link, as in the farm backdrop to ""Baby push, Baby pull, Baby heave,"" depicting the babies pushing a barrow of tomatoes, pulling carrots and heaving a full watering can. There is subtle variation in the characters' winsome expressions as they move through a mix of indoor and outdoor settings, and lots of wardrobe changes. Attentive readers will notice the change from sunny starting endpapers to moonlit closing endpapers and the coy gray cat in each picture. Tile-like borders along the bottom margin punctuate each spread. Ages up to 3. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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