cover image Walk On! A Guide for Babies of All Ages

Walk On! A Guide for Babies of All Ages

Marla Frazee, . . Harcourt, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-15-205573-8

Frazee (Roller Coaster ) kicks off a hilarious how-to with these trenchant questions: "Is sitting there on your bottom getting boring? Has lying around all the time become entirely unacceptable?" It's a pep talk for those ready to leave crawling behind (and for those who may need a refresher). Her exemplar is an authentically determined Everybaby of indeterminate sex, sporting an enormous polka-dotted diaper, with two dots for eyes and a single curlicue of hair. As the little one tentatively moves towards ambulatory independence, Frazee offers advice ranging from tongue-in-cheek tips (a chair is good to pull up on; a potted cactus is not) to wry Zen wisdom ("Feel the sway, but don't let it tip you over") to cheekily upbeat encouragement (it's okay to cry after the first fall; then check to see "if your diaper is weighing you down.... Fix whatever you can before you start over"). The book is as handsome as it is funny, with page after page of elegantly drafted spot illustrations (one sly visual aside portrays the living room layout as a forbidding, garishly yellow terrain). Of course, much of the humor will fly right by the nine- to 18-month-old crowd, but Frazee has a bigger audience in mind: eager, anxious parents—both expectant and newly anointed—and impatient older siblings. She'll have no trouble winning them over. All ages. (Apr.)