cover image Baby's First Year!

Baby's First Year!

Rick Walton, illus. by Caroline Jayne Church, Putnam, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-25025-5

Walton and Church encourage readers to think of a new baby's milestones as moments the whole family can celebrate. And indeed, the family depicted here, consisting of two parents and two young siblings, regards every accomplishment by its newest member with the same eager dot eyes and wide smiles. Big Brother can't wait to hold Baby and give the first kiss, while Big Sister tutors the infant on achieving its first peek-a-boo. But without mention of any unpleasant firsts (save for a tepid "first fall"), will real-life siblings be convinced? From the get-go, Walton's (Mr. President Goes to School) rhyming text is unfailingly sweet: "Our little Baby's finally here./ So small, so cute. Our little dear." Church's (Digby Takes Charge) collage and ink illustrations feature generously scaled characterizations and bright, saturated background colors that do their part to make each stepping stone feel like a special occasion, indeed; but for the most part, Church's art lacks the gentle, knowing wit that often adds a little tang to her sweet-natured aesthetic. Up to age 2. (Mar.)