Inspired by her mother’s shopping trip to exchange a hat, Caroline Crocodile tries to swap her baby brother, only to discover that he’s just right, after all.
Jealousy is the culprit in Caroline’s dissatisfaction with her new sibling. She seethes as Mama Crocodile enthuses, “He is as green as a grub, and his eyes are as yellow as egg yolks.” Matters worsen as Mama continues to lavish praise on her hatchling, and when Caroline is left in charge while Mama pops into the millinery, she spies “The Baby Shop.” Pictures reveal the store as one that sells baby clothing, furniture and accoutrements, but Caroline misinterprets its sales mission and heads inside to swap her drooling baby brother. A compassionate—and extremely resourceful—sales-goat somehow comes up with a series of other babies (a panda cub, twin tigers, a baby giraffe, a piglet and even an elephant’s child), but each is somehow problematic. Ormerod and Joyner infuse humor into the mishaps with each baby, which helps mitigate the hole in the story’s logic: Just where do these trial babies come from? Caroline ultimately reunites with her “just right” baby brother and happily accepts her returning mother’s oblivious praise. Joyner’s comic illustrations add much to the story’s success with their expressive, detailed and engaging approach.
A fine title to add, not swap, to the new-baby shelf. (Picture book. 3-7)