cover image How Do You Make a Baby Smile?

How Do You Make a Baby Smile?

Philemon Sturges, , illus. by Bridget Strevens-Marzo. . HarperCollins, $16.99 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-06-076072-4

Featuring some of Strevens-Marzo’s (Kiss Kiss) best artwork yet, a simple but amusing text from Sturges (The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza) and an instantly appealing title, this high-spirited preschool book will have babies giggling at every page turn. Although the illustrations focus attention on large animal shapes suitable for youngest readers, the artist’s heavy black outlines contain interesting details and textures that complement but never distract. Before the text begins, a toddler sits amid a plethora of stuffed animals, and subpages contain brightly colored illustrations that imagine each baby animal with a parent who invites it to smile, laugh or coo (“How do you make a baby smile? Grin like Papa Crocodile”). The animal mothers and fathers model simple baby games as well—Mama Baboon makes a face, Daddy Raccoon plays peek-a-boo—and the interaction between the bright-eyed babies and parents will undoubtedly invite mimicry. Eventually, an older sister appears and tickles the human baby’s chin with the tail of the stuffed animal raccoon. The bedtime ending (“When baby yawns and nods its head,/ Tuck the baby snug in bed.”) winds down with just the right amount of slowing action and reassurance as the sister lovingly puts the contented baby to sleep. Ages 6 mos.-5 yrs. (June)