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PECAN PIE BABY by Jaqueline Woodson Kirkus Star

PECAN PIE BABY

By Jaqueline Woodson (Author) , Sophie Blackall (Illustrator)

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-399-23987-8
Publisher: Putnam

A feisty big-sister-to-be narrates her ambivalence about her mama’s impending childbirth. The baby fixations of classmates, aunties and Grandma reinforce Gia’s sense that she’s got everything to lose when this winter baby comes—Mama’s gentle remonstrances notwithstanding. Woodson infuses Gia’s primal child-voice with an authorial lyricism that permits some lovely, lucid introspection. During a “baby-this and baby-that” Thanksgiving dinner, an outburst (“I’m so sick of that DING-DANG BABY!”) gets Gia banished to her room. “Upstairs, I got that teary, choky feeling. And even though there were a whole lot of people in my house, I felt real, real, / real alone.” Blackall’s apt watercolor-and-ink pictures capture the grounded serenity of a multiracial family (and community) with its priorities on straight. Beloved Gia’s got corn rows and a sweet gap between her front teeth. The fact that a dad or other mom doesn’t figure in renders her conflict more poignant. Cleverly, the story arc spans autumn’s slide into winter—a welcome alternative to all those ding-dang spring-baby plots. Fresh and wise. (Picture book. 3-7)