cover image One Hungry Baby

One Hungry Baby

Lucy Coats. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $9.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-517-59887-0

Equal parts silliness and charm blended with just a dash of reality are the endearing recipe for this series of nighttime rituals. Coats's bouncy cumulative verse fairly begs to be read aloud, while Hellard's comical, cartoony animal cast act out their roles with uncommon elan. The evening is off to a boisterous beginning as the eponymous tot-an open-jawed crocodile-perches in its high chair, waving a spoon to hasten the arrival of supper. A turn of the page shows a bibbed hippo munching a cookie with its ``two front teeth'' (opposite, the croc, escaped from the high chair, has also snagged a cookie). Family members soon join in: ``Four bubbly bathtimes/ To wash off the crumbs/ Five sploshy splashers/ Five wet moms.'' Dads, sisters and even teddy bears make their contributions, until there are ``Ten good babies/ Tucked up tight''-and, on the next and final spread, ``Twenty tired parents/ Waving good night.'' A perfect bedtime treat. Ages 6 mos.-4 yrs. (Aug.)