cover image What Baby Wants

What Baby Wants

Phyllis Root. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0207-9

Any child who has experienced a house thrown into a tizzy by a crying baby should get a giggle from this farmyard tale of an implacable infant. Mama can't get Baby to go to sleep and she is exhausted, so the six other family members pledge to try, and send Mama off to bed. Root (One Duck Stuck) depicts a family whose attempts to quiet the child reach tall-tale proportions, but each new effort is met with another round of ""WAAAAAH!"" Uncle, for example, decides ""Baby wants something to keep him warm"" and brings an entire flock of sheep into the house. ""Nibbitty, nubbitty,/ the sheep nibbled on Baby's hair,/ WAAAAAH! said Baby."" Four similarly well-intentioned but silly attempts by Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt and Little Sister result in a house filled with flowers, birds and other farm animals. Peace--if not order--is restored when at last Little Brother gives Baby what he wants: a cuddle, a quilt and a softly crooned lullaby. Right alongside the humor, Root provides plenty of repetition in a text rife with openings for audience participation. Barton's (The Happy Hedgehog Band) sunny watercolors filled with earnest straw-hatted women and overall-clad men take a gentle poke at rural life. She's as adept at portraying the family's heartfelt eagerness to please Baby as she is the comic chaos that ensues from their efforts. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)