cover image Sophie and the New Baby

Sophie and the New Baby

Laurence Anholt. Albert Whitman & Company, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8075-7550-5

The Anholts (The Big Book of Families) synchronize the cycle of life with the rhythms of the seasons in this heartwarming book about a new sibling. Young Sophie's new brother arrives amid the first snowfall, and the heroine's mood soon turns just as stormy as the winter weather. When a frustrated Sophie wants to know when the baby is ""going back again,"" her mother informs her, ""This baby isn't going back. He's here forever. We can't just put him away like your rag doll."" But just as winter changes to spring, so do Sophie's feelings alter toward her brother, and at book's end, she pushes his stroller through a blossoming wood, eagerly anticipating ""a whole new year."" Laurence Anholt's calm narrative voice and Catherine Anholt's airy, delicate watercolor-and-ink illustrations effectively plumb Sophie's darkest emotions. When, at the book's midpoint, Sophie runs out coatless into a snowstorm, yelling, ""I DON'T WANT THAT BABY! I DON'T WANT THAT BABY ANYMORE!"" it is a moment of almost breathtaking intensity and catharsis. The Anholts convincingly depict Sophie's maturation, to arrive at the happy conclusion--in which Sophie welcomes her brother as her new playmate. Ages 3-6. (Oct.)