cover image Baby’s Got the Blues

Baby’s Got the Blues

Carol Diggory Shields, illus. by Lauren Tobia. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-3260-1

“I’d like to eat some pizza,/ Macaroni, or beef stew,/ But I haven’t got a single tooth,/ So I can’t even chew,” wails the baby bluesman that Shields (Wombat Walkabout) and Tobia (the Anna Hibiscus books) introduce. Stinky diapers, unsteady legs, and doing time “behind these bars—Is it a crib or is it jail?”: who wouldn’t feel oppressed? Of course, life isn’t really that bad: the baby has a not-disinterested older sister (the princess crown anchored to her head is a nice touch of birth order assertion), a hipster mom (with a snake tattoo!), and the good sense to know that “blues” also rhymes with “I love yous.” This portrait of a very modern family—with its skillfully distilled domestic scenes; warm, saturated colors; and empathic, round-headed characters—will remind some of the work of Helen Oxen-bury. Best of all, the text is eminently singable by anyone with even a passing familiarity with Muddy Waters; it could quickly become an all-ages anthem for anyone connected to a newborn. Ages 3–7. Illustrator’s agent: Mandy Suhr, Miles Stott Literary Agency. (Mar.)