cover image GOOD BABY, BAD BABY


Nanette Newman, Nanette Newman, , illus. by Jonathan Langley. . Collins, $17.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-00-711538-9

This two-in-one paper-over-board book offers a fairly routine, toddler-style spoof of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. "Good Baby is so unbelievably good,/ she always does everything just as she should," writes Newman (My Granny ), as Langley (A Pig Called Shrimp ) shows a tidy, moon-face child pushing a stroller with her teddy bear. But if readers flip the book over and turn to the "other" first page, they'll see the very same child as a disheveled figure in underpants: "When she wakes from her nap with a scowl and a moan,/ 'Oh no, it's Bad Baby ,' you'll hear us all groan." Both stories are essentially catalogues of, respectively, do's and don'ts, dotted with tightly rendered spot illustrations: Good Baby shares, treats animals kindly and "uses her potty before going to town"; Bad Baby puts butter in her hair, tortures her baby brother and "climb[s] in the dustbin and give[s] it a lick." The two stories finish at the same mid-volume spread and the girl somersaults from one end of it to the other. The art implies that everyone is capable of good and bad behavior, a message the text, which also meets in the middle, sends out only ironically. Good Baby "just has to be" the same person whom the narrator feels "sure [Bad] Baby isn't like": "You!" Ages 3-5. (Nov.)