Don’t Eat the Baby!
Amy Young. Viking, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-670-78513-1
When grownups say a baby “looks good enough to eat,” they don’t really mean it, right? Tom, a budding superhero who’s been smarting about being displaced by his smelly, attention-hogging baby brother, suddenly becomes quite protective when he hears his relatives’ seemingly cannibalistic cooing (“Just look at those plump, juicy thighs!”) and wonders if he might be next. He barricades himself and little Nathaniel in his bedroom, declaring, “He’s my brother, and I won’t let you eat him!” Young (The Mud Fairy), working with acrylics, has a way of making color seem almost delicious: her domestic scenes are at their best when there’s an emotional backdrop—like the gorgeous marine blue that surrounds Tom when he first thinks his relatives’ intentions are nefarious. But the story has a sitcom feel and a pat ending (“My dad said, ‘I’m proud that you wanted to protect Baby Thaniel, Tom.’ ”). Aside from a couple mildly irreverent images—Baby Thaniel snuggled up on a dinner plate; family members eying Tom hungrily, forks in hand—Young doesn’t push the comedic potential of Tom’s misunderstanding very far. Ages 3–5. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/25/2013