cover image Ma! There’s Nothing to Do Here! A Word from Your Baby-in-Waiting

Ma! There’s Nothing to Do Here! A Word from Your Baby-in-Waiting

Barbara Park, , illus. by Viviana Garofoli. . Random, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-375-83852-1

Dear Ma,” says this story’s prenatal narrator, “What’s a baby to do in a womb with no view?” Park (the Junie B. Jones books) proceeds to catalogue in rhyme all the things lacking in his or her current environment (“No puppies. No toys./ …Not a sandbox or swings…/ Or those monkey bar things”), and throws in a last-minute to-do list (“You’re set for me, right? You’ve got a night-light?”). Garofoli (Sophie’s Trophy ), working in much the same vein as Laura Cornell, contributes lots of sweetly silly, nursery-hued illustrations, wildly exaggerating her subject’s oversize head while being slightly more discreet about the mother’s oversize tummy (although the crowded in-utero portraits may remind some adults of the famous stateroom scene from A Night at the Opera ). Strategic poses obscure the baby’s sex, in keeping with Park’s gender-neutral writing. But while there are many individually clever lines and pictures, the list-dependent premise here precludes the development of a full-fledged story. Accordingly, this book might be a better choice for expectant parents than expectant siblings, or for kids old enough to enjoy a fetal fantasy onto which they can project themselves. Ages 2-5. (Jan.)