cover image Samuel’s Baby

Samuel’s Baby

Mark Elkin, illus. by Amy Wummer, Random/Tricycle, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58246-301-8

“I’m having a baby!” Samuel announces to his kindergarten class, and in short order, everyone one else gets baby fever, too: the girls and boys stick anything they can grab under their shirts to simulate pregnancies of every stripe (all told, the class is expecting “fifteen babies, one beagle, one goldfish, two hamsters, one kitty-cat, one stegosaurs, and a dump truck”), and proper infant care becomes the topic du jour. Samuel turns out to be the most levelheaded: while he’s anxious about the new arrival, he also embraces his role as a knowledgeable caregiver (“My mom says that rocking helps when babies cry”). Debuting author Elkin is a little heavy-handed in the reassurance department (“You’re the best friend a baby could have,” Samuel’s best friend tells him). But together with Wummer (the Adventure Annie books), a solid cartoonist who contributes some fine visual jokes, he spools out the comedy just far enough to keep it funny and real. More importantly, the team beautifully conveys the classroom as a world unto itself, where kids have the freedom to bat around ideas and grow into new roles. Ages 3–6. (July)