cover image Pass the Baby

Pass the Baby

Susanna Reich, illus. by Raúl Colón. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-5085-5

Convivial rhyming verse celebrates a family dinner whose star is its newest member—a brown-skinned, curly-haired baby in a pink dress. Colón (Light for All), working in mixed media, gives the child’s extended family sparkling expressions as they consume a feast: “Tío likes the guacamole,/ Papi needs an enchilada,/ Doggie steals a ravioli./ Baby’s playing with a meatball.” As the meal progresses, the infant is sometimes held high above the table (“Baby, baby, pass the baby!”), and sometimes causes chaos from a high chair (“Baby takes some mashed banana,/ flings it at the kitchen door”). Slapstick action contributes laughs as Baby bops Tío in the nose (“watch out for her little kicks!”) and the dog catches the food that Baby drops (“Papi thinks that Doggie’s helpful,/ Mommy says he’s just a thief”). And at the end of the night, when the adults slump with fatigue, the child is miraculously alert and ready for more play. Reich (Stand Up and Sing!) finds ample color, incident, and humor around the dining room table in this celebration of cooking and eating in a family in which the very youngest are cherished. Characters are portrayed with various skin tones. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Edward Necarsulmer IV, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. Illustrator’s agent: Brenda Bowen, Book Group. (Oct.)