BABY TALK by Fred Hiatt


Age Range: 3 - 7
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Importuned by the incomprehensible cries of his baby brother, Joey turns to his other family members to decipher their meaning, preferring the role of an observer in the daily care of his sibling. However, a keen remark from Grandmother enlightens Joey and forges a special bond between the two youngest members of the household: “You spoke baby talk not so long ago.” After a few tentative phrases in baby gibberish, the siblings are happily communicating in their own language to their mutual delight. Soon Joey becomes the translator for the family, explaining the baby’s requests to the others. The transformation of Joey from reluctant toddler to loving brother is realistically, achingly rendered, saved from sentimentalism by the conversations and genuine affection that blossom between brothers. Graham’s incandescent illustrations complement and expand the text, making the flow of emotion between the siblings a nearly tangible element in their scenes. A blend of delicate hues and deep jewel tones suffused by a gentle light lends an ethereal quality to the images. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-689-82146-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1999


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