cover image Hello Baby!

Hello Baby!

Lizzy Rockwell. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-517-80011-9

A preschool-age boy actively helps to prepare for the homecoming of his new sister in Rockwell's (Good Enough to Eat: A Kid's Guide to Food and Nutrition) reassuring account. The young narrator shares with the reader an upbeat version of what to expect, starting with accompanying Mommy to an obstetrical appointment and ending with the boy's success at distracting the crying newborn with a musical toy. Along the way, stylized but essentially realistic illustrations show calm, smiling characters: white-haired Grannie, phone held to her ear, reports news of the birth to the beaming narrator; parents, boy and newborn snuggle in the hospital bed. Rockwell integrates a factual approach (there is a gestation-period chart) and a down-home quality (the boy compares his belly button with the baby's umbilical scab and later reports that the baby ""sounds like a cat when she cries""). Emphasis and proportion accurately reflect a happy child's point of view. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)