cover image Baby Be

Baby Be

Alison McGhee, illus. by Sean Qualls. Atheneum/Dlouhy, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-0539-4

Rocking rhyme accompanies images of mostly bearded caregivers spending time with small children throughout this energetic picture book. The adult-child duos make the most of ordinary places in which they find themselves—on the sofa, at the park, in the store. Together, they experiment with playing guitar (“Your drumming,/ my strumming”), pounding on pots and pans in a kitchen (“Your beats./ My treats”), dancing to music played on vinyl (“You show me your drop;/ I’ll show you my flop”), and letting loose at a supermarket (“My boogie,/ your woogie”). Working in textured acrylic paint, colored pencil, and collage, Qualls (Frances in the Country) portrays the twosomes with various skin tones and hair textures; incorporates kinetic-feeling movement that tracks with the text; and includes background bubbles, stars, and wafting ribbons that seem to represent music and sound. In equally energetic words, McGhee (World So Wide) celebrates unconditional love, not just for an infant’s actions or potential, but for their existence in the present moment. Singing, yelling, and dancing, each adult hints, it’s all “already perfect to me.” Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Sara Crowe, Sara Crowe Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Oct.)