cover image Will It Be a Baby Brother?

Will It Be a Baby Brother?

Eve Bunting, illus. by Beth Spiegel, Boyds Mills, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59078-439-6

Young Edward doesn't even want to entertain the possibility that his soon-to-arrive sibling could be anything other than a boy named James. "What if James turns out to be Sara?" asks his father. "I'll give her to Aunt Elizabeth," says Edward, not amused. Readers won't have a hard time predicting what happens, but they are unlikely to be persuaded that Edward acclimates himself to reality so quickly ("I can't help it. I bend down and kiss my little baby sister's hand, and I feel all soppy and silly"). The too-neat wrapup, as well as the patronizing attitudes of the story's grownups, are surprising coming from Bunting, who has written about sibling rivalry and shifting family dynamics so astutely before (2001's Twinnies being a shining example). Spiegel's (First Grade Stinks!) sunny watercolors, populated by a round-faced cartoon cast, are undoubtedly meant to reassure, but instead mostly dampen the emotions—good, bad, and comic—that swirl around a family on the verge of a new addition. Ages 2–6. (Sept.)