The granddaughter of syndicated cartoonist Bil Keane (The Family Circus) offers her own spin on family matters and new baby brothers.
They say inspiration begins at home, and so Keane bases her latest book on her own immediate family. Matisse is “a little girl in a big world.” Though the white preschooler goes with her parents to big places and can do big things, her teeth are small, her shoes are small, and even her eyes are small. That’s all before a new baby brother puts everything in perspective. She’s bigger than he is, and that means she has a big job to do, exploring the world with this new little person. With its familiar storyline, it’s Keane's art that is the true star here. Mixing a retro, thick-lined look with hipster touches (Matisse’s black lace-up boots, her mom’s elegant black postpartum blouse), Keane’s digital art best resembles pen, ink, and watercolor. Hints of the new baby’s arrival are hidden in almost every picture before its sudden-to-Matisse appearance. Some new-baby books explore the fears and concerns of older siblings, but Keane’s focuses instead on the joy and wonder of it all—sometimes straining credulity: the new baby never cries once, and diapers are delightful.
Give to parents hoping to introduce kids to the joy and wonder of a new baby sibling with none of the mess. (Picture book. 3-6)