cover image THIS IS THE BABY


Candace Fleming, , illus. by Maggie Smith. . FSG/Kroupa, $16.50 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-374-37486-0

"No! No! Nooo!" is a toddler's resounding chorus as his or her mother patiently tries to dress the child in umpteen layers of winter clothing. In this House-that-Jack-Built cumulative tale, Fleming's (Smile, Lily! ) rhymes, ideal for reading aloud, epitomize the unpleasant aspects of the baby's clothing. "This is the sweater,/ itchy and hot,/ that covers the T-shirt,/ wrinkled a lot,/ that snaps over the diaper,/ often a mess,/ that goes on the baby who hates to be dressed./ 'No! No! Nooo!' " In Smith's (Beach Day ) illustrations, the curly-haired tyke puts up a good fight: the mother turns to games such as demonstrating how much the stuffed rabbit likes wearing the "jeans, stiff in the knee" or pretending to be a bunny herself, wearing the "boots, pinchy and tight" on her head as ears. The artist's full-bleed artwork hilariously captures the sway of baby emotions from giggly during the acrobatic struggles and the "red-faced and mad" child's expression contrasts with the playful row of fish on the toddler's woolen hat. Despite the mother's lengthy and exhausting efforts, it naturally takes no time at all for baby to shed each layer and celebrate with an ebullient "Yes! Yes! Yes!" The willful tyke's antics should amuse kids who have been forced to wear many an itchy sweater as well as moms and dads who have tussled with naked babies of their own. Ages 2-4. (Aug.)