cover image The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade

The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade

Deborah Diesen, , illus. by Tracy Dockray. . Tricycle, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-58246-274-5

Fed up with patronizing, rule-wielding grownups, an entire population of babies organizes a protest march—well, waddle—to town hall (“We're slow, but we'll get there”), where they insist that their parents listen to their demands. “Stop tickling our tootsies and kissing our noses!/ Stop calling us sweet and adorable names!/ Stop blowing loud raspberries right on our bellies!/ And stop, oh please STOP, with those peekaboo games!” Will the mothers and fathers finally listen, or just find this too, utterly adorable? Although a far-too-wistful ending holds the story back from being a satiric tour de force, Diesen (The Pout-Pout Fish ) gets the we're-not-gonna-take-it tone exactly right (“Take notes. You will need them. We'll try to be clear”), while scoring a few direct hits on contemporary parenting (“We won't play with smart toys to skip us a grade”). Dockray (The Tushy Book ) gleefully and vividly reimagines babies' chunky, blunt physicality as the manifestation of civil disobedience—after closing this book, it will be difficult to look at anyone under 36 months and not see a budding Emma Goldman or Eugene V. Debs. Ages 3–6. (Mar.)