cover image Uh-oh, Baby!

Uh-oh, Baby!

Nancy Coffelt, illus. by Scott Nash. S&S/Aladdin, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-9149-6

Rudy (last seen speeding around the house naked in Catch That Baby!) is determined to give his mother a birthday gift that will make her say “Wow!” To his ongoing consternation, such efforts as a splendid block tower and a giant topiary dog that would make Jeff Koons green with envy are consistently upstaged by the family dog’s ongoing pursuit of a ladybug—which, not coincidentally, was Rudy’s initial gift. Mom is so distracted by the mild domestic mayhem that she responds with “Uh-ohs” instead of the desired interjection: “Wow!” The story’s rhythm feels erratic, and readers may wonder why Mom is so dense, especially when Rudy is clearly a candidate for the gifted and talented program. On an individual basis, however, Nash’s frames reveal him to be something like a latter-day Ernie Bushmiller—and, yes, that’s a compliment. In addition to a linear shading technique that evokes engraving, there’s the same quirky formalism-meets-comics sensibility at work, with strong graphic shapes, bold black outlines, and flat colors delivering the kind of visual punch devotees of Nancy savored every Sunday. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Edward Necarsulmer IV, McIntosh & Otis. (Mar.)