cover image Baby for Grace

Baby for Grace

Ian Whybrow, Christian Birmingham. Kingfisher, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7534-5142-7

Young Grace is told ""no"" one too many times when the new baby arrives. Although told in third person, Whybrow's (Quacky Quack-Quack!) sure, simple story concisely evokes the girl's point of view: ""Grace said the baby was nice but it had a fat head. All the people said, No Grace, the baby's head is beautiful."" The absence of quotation marks can be confusing, especially in that some speech is presented as dialogue and some is paraphrased. Whybrow creates subtle verbal patterns, frequently repeating the girl's name (rather than using ""she""). Birmingham's (Butterfly Lion) soft, light-splashed artwork is closely observed, realistic (only Grace's huge, wide-set eyes seem exaggerated) and remarkably expressive. As Grace's efforts to please backfire, her hurt feelings can be read in her face; when she finally hears ""yes,"" her beaming smile fills the page. Grace's emotions don't extend to serious jealousy: praise when she brings the baby some flowers is enough to mend her hurt feelings. But they don't feel trivial, either. Due to both writer and artist, readers will warm to this well-intentioned, sensitive little person. Ages 2-5. (Oct.)