cover image Tummy Girl

Tummy Girl

Roseanne Thong, , illus. by Sam Williams. . Holt, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-7609-7

In this paean to tender childhood moments, a diminutive girl is first seen in a pose of quiet restfulness, her chubby tummy peeking out from beneath her shirt. “Once there was a tummy girl.../ A full-of-warm-milk yummy girl,” writes Thong (The Wishing Tree ) in fluent Mommy lingo. The poem follows the girl into her first few years of life, giving Williams (No More Diapers for Ducky! ) ample opportunities to sketch her in a series of snapshot-like poses—savoring bath bubbles, toddling in a diaper, romping at the beach and prancing in a tutu. None of these vignettes is startling in originality, but Williams's charcoal line has so much verve and affection and the subject exudes such cuteness that it's hard to quibble. But no matter how impressive the girl's talents and achievements (she is last seen in the starring role of the moon in a school play) or how big she becomes (“Soon you'll be my older girl, /A taller-than-my-shoulder girl,”), the grownups who love her will always think of her as their Tummy Girl. That nickname may not go over big by the time she reaches adolescence, but for the target audience, the book's reassuring message should resonate loud and clear. Ages 3-5. (Apr. )