cover image Baby Talk

Baby Talk

Fred Hiatt. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $14 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82146-2

The team behind If I Were Queen of the World here explores the way a family communicates with their new baby. ""WAAH!"" says Joey's new brother, and although various family members try to translate (""He's just telling us that he's hungry""; ""He's saying he needs a dry diaper""), Joey is not the least bit interested. Then one day the baby says ""Agoo."" Perceptive Joey learns to repeat the baby's sounds better than anyone else, and he gradually becomes the family's expert in baby talk. ""Now what's he saying?"" asks Joey's grandmother at the end of the book, and Joey answers, ""He's saying he loves his big brother. Right, Baby?"" Although not all of the baby's babbling sounds are believable, Hiatt's simple story line and text are age appropriate and full of family warmth. Graham's lustrous oil paintings of the adoring baby and his reluctant hero focus on ordinary family activities--riding in the car, shopping at the supermarket--and give the book a cozy, homespun tone. Children will enjoy spotting the baby's rubber ducky and other toys that litter the family's house, especially when the same toys reappear on the colorful end papers. Ages 3-7. (May)