cover image Mission: New Baby

Mission: New Baby

Susan Hood, illus. by Mary Lundquist. Random, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-385-37672-3

How do you defuse the emotional upheaval of a new baby’s arrival? Reframe it as a special ops assignment worthy of a Tom Cruise or Matt Damon vehicle. “Headquarters is about to get a brand-new recruit,” writes Hood (Rooting for You), and it’s up to the nascent older siblings to “train the new kid on the team.” Readers follow big brother and sisters in four families as they carry out 16 assignments, articulated in the no-nonsense cadence of a top agent’s briefing: “#7. Crack codes” accompanies a trip to the farm, where Lundquist’s (Cat & Bunny) winsome watercolors show an older brother explaining that “baaa = sheep” while “maaa = goat.” As the babies grow, the assignments become more collaborative; “#15. Go Undercover” finds a boy and his now-toddler sister on a surveillance exercise in their blanket fort. A recurring toy robot character is extraneous, but otherwise Hood and Lundquist carry off the conceit with sunny aplomb, complete with a genre-appropriate diaper joke: “Dad? In need of assistance here! Code name: Number Two!” Ages 3–7. Author’s agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Feb.)