cover image Because You Are My Baby

Because You Are My Baby

Sherry North, , illus. by Marcellus Hall. . Abrams, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-9482-9

Hall, whose editorial portfolio includes covers for the New Yorker , makes an impressive picture book debut. As Mom imagines how a variety of professions would enable her to “do anything” for her baby (and his ever-present teddy bear), Hall's radiant, double-page watercolors showcase his gifts for dramatic sweep and comic telling detail. When Mom declares, “If I were a mountaineer, I would take you to the peak/ Of Everest and Fuji, a new summit every week,” Hall creates a stunning, top-of-the-world landscape, planting cartoon characters atop mountain peaks striated in translucent ribbons of navy, rose, purple and turquoise. When Mom fancies herself a headliner in a Hong Kong stadium rock show (her skirt is demure but her boots have stiletto heels), Hall gives Baby industrial-strength ear protectors and places a burly, glaring roadie at the edge of the stage to hold back the Deadhead-esque crowd. Every one of these wry but always inviting images buoys the sometimes clunky couplets by North (also making her debut), and lifts a familiar premise far above the ordinary. Ages 3-6. (Apr.)