cover image Welcoming Babies

Welcoming Babies

Margy Burns Knight. Tilbury House Publishers, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-88448-123-2

""Every day, everywhere, babies are born. We have many ways to show them we are glad they came into the world."" So opens this well-meaning if somewhat artificial round-up of the ways in which people of various cultures celebrate the arrival of a newborn and other childhood milestones. ""We Sing,"" writes Knight as O'Brien shows an African baby being welcomed by the song of women, who, the text tells us, will be joined by other villagers to herald the child's birth. Subsequent spreads reveal a tiny baby in an incubator being caressed by a parent's hand (""We Touch""); a midwife placing a drop of sugar butter onto the tongue of a dark-haired infant ``so that he will have a sweet life'' (""We Bless""); a christening party for Ricardo, where the guests wear encintados, colorful ribbons with the names of the baby and his godparents; and the first birthday celebration for Ok-hee, pictured in front of a table laden with food (""Those who treasure her gather to wish Ok-hee a long and happy life""). At its best, O'Brien's hazy, pastel art depicts endearing scenarios, but often the images are stilted and unaffecting. Ages 5-up. (Oct.)