cover image How to Be a Baby... By Me, the Big Sister

How to Be a Baby... By Me, the Big Sister

Sally Lloyd-Jones, , illus. by Sue Heap. . Random/Schwartz & Wade, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-375-83843-9

All the things that a baby needs to know—and more importantly, all the things that a big sister does know—are covered in this re-teaming of Lloyd-Jones and Heap (previously paired for Handbag Friends ). Many of the observations take the form of handwritten lists, such as the one titled, "Here's what else you don't know," which includes entries such as "Any secrets/ Any jokes/ How to make a snowman/ Anything." But while these authentically snarky remarks effectively underscore the narrator's fragile sense of importance and maturity, the winsome, girly-hued watercolor-and-ink illustrations make clear that home is still a happy, secure place for everyone. And sure enough, the emotional tone of the book turns warmer midway through the book, as the bond between the newly minted siblings deepens. Readers see the girl comforting the baby in the middle of the night ("Don't worry, Baby Dumpling, it's just a scary dream") and simply savoring her cuteness (Heap shows the baby dressed in several undeniably adorable Halloween costumes). The final pages jump ahead a few years and find both children so close that they can share nostalgia for "the olden days when you were a baby"—a suitably sweet ending for this tribute to the way love grows. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)