cover image Catch That Baby!

Catch That Baby!

Nancy Coffelt, illus. by Scott Nash. S&S/Aladdin, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-9148-9

Coffelt (Fred Stays with Me!) and Nash (Betsy Red Hoodie) make winning collaborators as they tell the story of Rudy, whose name provides a great rhyme as he tears off his clothes and races through the house after his bath ("Nudie Rudy!" he cries) and another when he finally emerges in clothes%E2%80%94pants on head, legs in his shirtsleeves, socks on hands. "Cutie Rudy!" he announces. Nash's large, comic book%E2%80%93style panels are embellished with go-fast lines, rakish shading, and wry side jokes (a box of food on the stove is labeled "Silage"). Coffelt's text, mostly a series of exclamations, combines the charm of the toddler who refuses to wear clothes with the love of a cheerful family consisting of mother, father, older siblings, a helpful dog, and even grandparents working in the greenhouse. Despite the central motif of gleeful nakedness, Rudy stays decent throughout, thanks to handy plants, legs, and well-placed dogs. Coffelt and Nash steer clear of treacle, but don't indulge in so much irony that readers can't feel the love, making this one a treat. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (June)