cover image ROCK-A-BABY BAND


Kate McMullan, , illus. by Janie Bynum; with accompanying CD music by Peggo and Paul with the P. Little, Brown/Tingley, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-60858-9

Led by four musically precocious peers, a multiethnic group of toddlers indulges in the pleasures of "Shake it, baby, shake it!/ Shake it if you can./ Shake it, baby, shake it/ with the Rock-a-Baby Band." Moving about the house with Rugrats-esque aplomb, the roundheaded, diapered group of 10 makes music in the playroom (with familiar kid toys), kitchen (after commandeering pots and pans) and backyard before returning to the house to create a baby version of a mosh pit: "Charlotte's getting dizzy,/ Denny leaps around,/ Bip and Ling start giggling./ They all fall down!" Bynum's (Altoona Balboona) vivacious, unusually kinetic watercolor-and-ink pictures depict the usual gang of cute cut-ups—the baby with a backwards baseball cap playing a guitar, the pacifier-sucking infant who always seems on the verge of losing his diaper. She creates some good jokes: one baby embraces a microphone—a hairbrush attached to a plunger—while a nestful of baby birds jams along. The very young will savor the babies' sweet sassiness and their freedom (there's nary a nay-saying grown-up in sight). Multicolored type accents Bynum's jazzy palette for a finishing touch. Unfortunately, the accompanying CD, which sets McMullan's (I Stink!) text to original music, doesn't do the author any favors—the melody is repetitious and the arrangement is a bland mélange of rock, swing and up-tempo blues. Ages 3-6. (May)