cover image Such a Silly Baby!

Such a Silly Baby!

Steffanie Lorig, Richard Lorig, , illus. by Amanda Shepherd. . Chronicle, $15.99 (28pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-5134-3

As preschoolers will undoubtedly note with glee, the title of this book should be “Such a Silly Mommy!” After all, it's Mommy who can't manage to go on an outing without bringing home an animal instead of her offspring. Whatever the destination, the refrain is always the same: “But there was a hitch.../ my baby got switched,” and clueless Mommy ends up with, say, a chimpanzee, while Baby takes up residence in the monkey house. Baby is always retrieved with the turn of a page, but the spreads give readers plenty of opportunity to savor his briefly unsupervised cavorting in a comic, exotic setting. Exuberant, hand-lettered text practically demands audience participation on the animal noises (“oo... oo... ee... ee...” for the chimps). Paired with this husband-and-wife team, Shepherd (Fiona Loves the Night ) illustrates in the Nadine Bernard Westcott vein; she revels in buoyantly hued silliness and goofy visual asides. A firm hand, however, guides these compositions, most evidently in Shepherd's use of thick, textured fields of color, and readers won't get overwhelmed. Ages up to 4. (May)