cover image The Babies Are Landing

The Babies Are Landing

Chronicle Books, Joan L. Margalith, Joan Margolith. Chronicle Books, $9.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-2674-7

Babies don't need the stork to facilitate their arrival--they simply fall gently to earth in baskets, like raindrops--according to this compact gift book (the frontispiece provides a space to write a baby's name and arrival date). ""Every baby lands/ in somebody's arms/ In the roar of a city/ or the hush of a farm."" With a mixture of full-bleed, double-page spreads and neatly framed square compositions, Bronson (Crookjaw) depicts infants as sleeping, totemic-looking figures, with perfectly round, apple-cheeked faces peeking out from sausagelike swaddling. Her swooping, curvilinear stylization of adults captures the sublime ecstasy of new parenthood in many cultures and settings: a Native American mother, whose shape echoes that of her teepee, lovingly cradles her child as her braids curl out from her head like two beaming smiles; a father standing outside what appears to be an Italian pastry shop hugs his baby along with four baguettes and a trio of cupcakes. Such parent-child images are eye-catching and comforting. But some children may be troubled by a disconnect between the text and pictures: in the opening pages, some babies do not land in the arms of an adult--in fact, an island baby and a desert baby look rather lonely and marooned. All ages. (May)