cover image Some Babies

Some Babies

Amy Schwartz. Orchard Books (NY), $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-30287-3

Schwartz revives a familiar bedtime picture-book theme in this lesser companion to A Teeny Tiny Baby. A park playground is visible through the bedroom window as a baby signals a stall in the bedtime ritual, first by throwing a blanket out of the crib, then by handing off teddy bear and milk bottle to his or her mother. The child then gives a clear directive: ""Mommy, talk about some babies in park."" Growing increasingly sleepy, the patient woman utters a slow-moving litany of toddlers' activities in the park, detailing how they use the playground equipment, what they wear and what they eat as snacks. The woman insists that her mouth has become ""fuzzy"" and she cannot continue with her storytelling. But the persistent child goads her on--in sometimes unconvincing baby-speak--until she finally nods off. After several unanswered queries (""Mommy? Mommy sleep?""), the baby calls out, ""Daddy? DADDY MORE!"" bringing this passable story to a wry if not entirely surprising conclusion. Brightly hued gouache pictures convey the comical contrast between the energy of the wide-eyed baby, as well as his peers in the playground, and the fatigue of the exhausted mother. But the spare language that so successfully conveyed the child's point of view in Schwartz's earlier volume gets clouded by a predominantly adult perspective here. Ages 2-5. (Sept.)