cover image Old MacDonald Had a Baby

Old MacDonald Had a Baby

Emily Snape, illus. by K-Fai Steele. Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-30281-6

Early parenthood builds into a barnyard menagerie in this variation on “Old MacDonald.” One father, brown skinned and bespectacled, heads out for the day; his lighter-skinned, plaid-clad partner waves from the door of their farmhouse residence, babe in arm. As the day unfolds, the latter cares for their infant with the help of a growing retinue of animal friends, among them a dog, a cow, and a chicken who totes a rainbow-ribboned tambourine. Together, the growing group helps with ablutions, feedings (“with a spoonful here,/ and a handful there,” Snape writes), and entertainments, even breaking for a tractor-adjacent diaper change (“E-I-E-I-O”). As the day ramps up, then winds down, a loving community emerges from Steele’s emotive ink and watercolor art (a cow offers milk, a horse distracts using a frog puppet). Though the meter sometimes feels clunky, the long days ring true, and the vision of an inclusive, affectionate caretaking village shines. Ages 2–5. [em](Nov.) [/em]