cover image Za-Za's Baby Brother

Za-Za's Baby Brother

Lucy Cousins, Enderle. Candlewick Press (MA), $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-582-1

Cousins's (Maisy Goes to School) childlike gouache figures and hand-lettered text set against bold fields of color give this oversized book a decidedly cheerful look. Za-Za, a young zebra, candidly narrates the story: ""My mom is going to have a baby. She has a big fat tummy. There's not much room for a hug."" A familiar scenario unfolds after Mom brings the newborn home from the hospital. Visitors arrive to coo at the baby, and Mom and Dad shower the interloper with attention, too. When Za-Za demands a hug ""now!"" Mom responds: ""Why don't you hug the baby?"" So the older sibling does just that-and, after spending some time playing with the little one, concludes, ""He was nice. It was fun."" Finally, Mom puts the baby to sleep, and Za-Za gets a hug and a story. If not the most clever or insightful book available on this well-worn subject, Cousins's simple story delivers a useful message to preschoolers in Za-Za's situation. Ages 2-up. (Aug.)