cover image Bright Brown Baby

Bright Brown Baby

Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus. by Brian Pinkney. Orchard, $18.99 (64p) ISBN 978-0-545-87229-4

In a five-section treasury of poems with directions for adult readers, married collaborators Davis Pinkney and Pinkney (Loretta Little Looks Back) speak directly to children of color via joyful nursery-style rhymes and glad images of brown-skinned babies and adults with various skin tones. A brief quotation, from figures including Langston Hughes and Michelle Obama, prefaces each section, as does text for caregivers (“Begin by telling your Bright Brown Baby what you’ve always known: ‘When I count my blessings, I count you twice.’ ”). Davis Pinkney’s affirming lines conjure families playing peekaboo and counting, and include a sequence each for boys and girls; Pinkney’s signature bold-hued ink and paint spreads, meanwhile, capture affectionate, playful moments in kinetic scenes that center cuddling adults and children. Front matter sets the tone (“What to do with this book: Speak it. Sing it. Bring it.”), and creators’ notes exhort caretakers to “let the Bright Brown Babies in your life know how truly special they are” and emphasize “the precious affection that every child needs.” A radiant evocation of love. Ages up to 3. (Jan.)