cover image Welcome with Love

Welcome with Love

Jennifer Overend Prior. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-916291-96-9

Jack and his family welcome a baby boy in this tranquil description of a seamless home birth, from an Australian team. ""Mum's got pains in her tummy and that means her baby is ready to be born,"" announces the boy narrator. Overend makes the baby's arrival a family affair and carefully describes the events from a child's perspective. When Mum takes a walk outdoors alone in the whistling wind to ""help the baby along,"" for instance, Jack thinks, ""If I was a baby listening to that wind, I'd want to stay inside Mum, floating in the warm water."" The woman's walk and subsequent indoor pacing works, however, and she finally gives birth in a standing position, fully undressed, supported by her husband as her children and sister look on, and a midwife guides the infant out. In a placid concluding tableau, the older siblings curl up in sleeping bags before the fire, alongside their parents and the newborn. Vivas's (Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge) softly focused pencil illustrations capture the serenity of the delivery, as well as Jack's awe--and slight apprehension--at the arrival of his new brother. Though the natural childbirth scenario may not be typical of most youngsters' experience, those awaiting the birth of a new sibling may well take comfort in the book's smooth introduction of the stages leading up to labor as well as its soothing tone and images. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)