cover image Baby Day

Baby Day

Jane Godwin and Davina Bell, illus. by Freya Blackwood. Atheneum, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-7034-6

It’s a baby’s first birthday, and a parade of well-wishing parents and toddlers are gathering for an informal outdoor celebration. As the adults quickly recede into the background (they occasionally appear as arms and hands distributing a sun hat or ice cream), the littlest guests display a medley of moods, chronicled in succinct adjective-noun pairs by the team behind Hattie Helps Out. “Shy baby” regards a big, grey-spotted dog (a vivid character in its own right) with some trepidation, while “friendly baby” eagerly pets the hound’s nose; “twin babies” watch in fascination as a “brave baby” slides down the slide. The kids lean against each other while licking ice cream cones, gather around for cake and for an adorably chaotic group photo, and then moods rapidly deteriorate (“cranky baby,” “tired baby”). Everyone heads home, and the birthday baby is soon fast asleep. Blackwood’s line work and watercolors, set against crisp white backgrounds, offer a sketchbook immediacy that places readers in the thick of the action; her small subjects’ chubby bodies are as expressive as their faces. Ages 4–8. [em](Mar.) [/em]