Whoa, Baby, Whoa!
Grace Nichols, illus. by Eleanor Taylor. Bloomsbury, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59990-742-0
Being an adventurous baby means having to hear the title phrase again and again. “Creeping to the kitchen to see what’s cooking,” writes Nichols, as Taylor, working in a style reminiscent of Helen Oxenbury, shows Baby stalking the dog’s food bowls. “Up goes the gate and Daddy comes running... ‘Whoa, Baby, Whoa! Hot things can burn you in the kitchen.’ ” But Baby never misses a beat (a relentlessness nicely conveyed in the typography’s comically wobbled kerning)—after all, there’s work to be done, whether it’s eating the newspaper, mangling Grandpa’s glasses, or flooding the bathroom. Even very young readers will note that the members of Baby’s mixed-race family are acting out of love, which may be why Baby never loses that sweet, knowing smile; this is a kid who knows a lot of people have his back. The tables turn nicely at the end, when Baby reasons that one way to put an end to his “Whoa” is to “try something new with myself” and take those long-anticipated first steps—prompting the onlookers to cheer “Go, Baby, Go!” Up to age 3. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/12/2011