cover image Who's a Clever Baby?

Who's a Clever Baby?

David McKee. Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books, $12.95 (26pp) ISBN 978-0-688-08595-7

Grandma's pride in her bouncing baby grandchild is tested when she is called on to babysit. Grandma turns herself inside out trying to get baby to repeat a few simple words. ``What terrible teeth Trevor the television tiger has. Say `Tiger,' Baby,'' implores Grandma. ``Dog,'' says Baby. ``Dog'' it turns out, is the only thing Baby can say and it doesn't matter what kind of verbal virtuosity Grandma manufactures, the response from Baby is always ``Dog.'' Grandma, determined to prove her grandchild is clever, spies a dog. ``Such a darling dog, Baby . . . . say `dog,' Baby.'' The obstinate child replies, ``Cat.'' McKee's colorfully textural illustrations are, as usual, loaded with interesting background vignettes: a rather staid older couple give each other sample licks of their ice cream cones; a child slips a mechanical duck into a pond filled with real ducks. Although the story is singular in its direction (some readers may be reminded of David Lloyd's Duck ) and has a somewhat predictable outcome, Grandma's alliterative frenzies are fascinating and readers will find Baby's manipulative stubborness vastly amusing. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)