cover image A Baby Just Like Me

A Baby Just Like Me

Susan Winter. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56458-668-1

In this worthy addition to the ever-growing list of titles about new babies in the family, Martha, an African American child, and her friend Sam anxiously await the arrival of Martha's new baby sister. ``She'll do everything. Mommy says she's going to be just like me,'' announces the proud big sister as she and Sam gather her outgrown clothing and toys in anticipation of the baby's release from the hospital. But both are bitterly disappointed when the newborn ignores the puppet show they present, sleeps through their musical performance and frightens away a bird they like. ``That baby is not just like you.... Maybe you should send her back,'' declares Sam in one of this tale's many entirely believable moments. Martha's mother gives her firstborn a needed dose of reassurance that she is loved every bit as much as her sister, and eventually (``it took a while'') the baby joins in the play of the delighted Martha and Sam. Though the book lacks some of the inventive twists and sharp humor of prior books on this subject (e.g., Kevin Henkes's Julius, the Baby of the World or Holly Keller's recent Geraldine's Baby Brother), Winter's straightfoward text and realistic, full-page watercolors are a winning combination reschoolers as well as beginning readers will easily absorb her message. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)