cover image Rosie's Babies

Rosie's Babies

Martin Waddell. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0718-0

Waddell (previously paired with Dale for When the Teddy Bears Came) perfectly captures the nuances of a child's conversation with her mother in this disarming story. As her mother takes care of Rosie's infant sibling, the attention-commanding four-year-old tells her mother all about ""her babies"" (a teddy bear and plush rabbit). The left side of each spread shows Rosie with her mother in realistic pencil-and-watercolor illustrations; the artwork opposite shows the stuffed companions sprung to life. For instance, Rosie tells her mother, ""My babies make their own pies, but they never eat them,"" while the illustration shows the teddy bear and bunny making mud pies. ""What do they eat?"" asks the mother, and Rosie replies, ""My babies eat apples and apples and apples all the time. And grapes and pears but they don't like the seeds."" The cover illustration is unfortunately more saccharine than the balance of Dale's illustrations, the best of which recall Tasha Tudor's artwork with their slightly nostalgic charm and skillful details (a painted wooden sled, a flower-print comfy chair). This book beautifully fuses the free rein of Rosie's imagination with the authentic rapport between Rosie and her mother. Ages 3-5. (Mar.)