Books by Robin Ballard

I USED TO BE THE BABY by Robin Ballard
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2002

This effort would fall into the "new sibling issues" category, the premise laid out on the first page, "I used to be the baby, but now I am big. I have a baby brother, and I help Mommy take care of him." Through several examples, big brother offers solutions to new baby woes. When baby is sad in the stroller, brother holds his hand. When baby doesn't enjoy bath time, big brother blows bubbles to amuse him. The payoff comes after the baby has gone to sleep and big brother gets some alone time on Mommy's lap. The artwork is attractive with its array of bright watercolors and distinct outlines. The characters and household objects have a pudgy, roly-poly appeal. In fact, the illustrations, not the text, subtly betray big brother's natural reactions to the new arrival. In the smaller panel of the layout, for example, he vies for mother's attention during bath time with such antics as tugging on her hair and wearing a towel on his head. The facing page has a larger illustration of the behavior that remedies the situation: blowing the bubbles. Ballard (My Day, Your Day, 2001, etc.) does well enough outlining some of the ways in which the family will be altered with a young addition and scratches the surface of some of the emotional issues surrounding such an upheaval. Though this child is meant to be a model, he seems more patient and helpful than many children would be. (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
MY DAY, YOUR DAY by Robin Ballard
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 28, 2001

Ten parents and their preschoolers experience parallel days, from their good-byes in the morning to their hellos in the afternoon. On opposing pages, we see a child on the left and a parent on the right. A little girl builds with blocks at day care, and her father, an engineer, makes a building using bigger blocks. A young boy plants seeds with a teacher and so does his scientist mom with a lab assistant. One preschooler creates in arts-and-crafts while his artist mother creates for a gallery opening. A daughter reads at school while her journalist dad reads at work. Circle time is cleverly juxtaposed with meeting time. While reading this book, children can clearly see the similarities between what they do at preschool and what their parents do at work. Ballard's full, round characters show youth in the children and the breadth that comes with age in the parents. After a full day, parents and children happily greet each other and are ready to go home together. This will have parents and little ones cuddling up to read and discuss their similar yet distinctly different days. As the flap says, "How you spend your day matters." Hear, hear. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
TONIGHT AND TOMORROW by Robin Ballard
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: March 31, 2000

As he falls asleep, a small boy considers the various objects in his room and how they fit into his day. From the glowing night light to books on his shelf, the child compares how the now dusky objects will appear the next day and what he will do with them: "Next to my nightlight there is a window. At night it's full of shadows, but tomorrow I will open the curtains and see what the day is like." The tale concludes with his realization that the faster he falls asleep the quicker the night will be over. Ballard's (When We Get Home. 1999, etc.) compassionate story addresses the very real anxiety young children often feel once the lights go out. By focusing on the prospect of the next day's activities, the young boy wards off any apprehensions about his dim room. Ballard's use of color and subtle gradations in hues deftly conveys the waning light. Full-page illustrations depict a portion of the shadowy room while smaller inserts on the facing pages show the same part of the room bathed in sunlight. Cozy scenes depicting the minutiae of a child's room—right down to the toys spilling out of the toy chest—add a homey, familiar touch. Gently reassuring, this sympathetic bedtime tale will help young readers keep their own nighttime fears at bay. (Picture book. 4-6)Read full book review >
WHEN WE GET HOME by Robin Ballard
Released: March 1, 1999

A common belief of childhood—that the moon is following a child—is part of the narrator's ponderings during a night ride home. The narrator and her mother have helped a grandmother move; on the journey home the child rehearses her familiar bedtime routines in her mind: finding her father asleep on the couch in front of the TV, brushing her teeth, putting on pajamas, closing the curtains, and getting tucked in. The car is shown in snapshots, crossing bridges, rounding bends, and turning off exits, until its headlights shine a heart-shaped beam on the girl's own house. Opposite those scenes are full-color pictures of the bedtime rituals, rendered in clean, unbroken pen-and-ink lines and washed in warm colors. The unswerving text, set in dark gray against a light gray background, conveys a sense of hush in simple declarative sentences and quietly celebrates the safety and comfort of home and family. (Picture book. 2-4) Read full book review >
THE SCRAP DOLL by Liz Rosenberg
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

There's no money for a store-bought doll, so Lydia's mother gives her a doll that her dad made long ago. Sarah is in such sorry shape that Lydia calls her ``Ugly Old Thing''; still, step by step, she fixes her up, eventually responding to her own improvements by loving the doll and restoring the name her mother first gave her. Ballard's spare, fine-line illustrations with minimal detail are just right for this gentle, understated story concerning the sources of affection. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >