A charming choice for transitioning families.

HOW TO WELCOME A NEW BABY

From the How To... series

The team behind How to Babysit a Grandpa (2012), How to Raise a Mom (2018), and other “How-to” titles surrounding domestic relationships turns to yet another family dynamic: the birth of a new baby.

A brown-skinned mom, a White dad, and their biracial child (who could either be a boy or girl) first prepare for and then welcome a new baby (who could also be a boy or girl). A White grandmother and a brown-skinned grandfather devotedly assist. Reagan’s upbeat, second-person narrative addresses young readers directly, conveying realistic expectations and advice for adapting to a newborn joining the clan. For example, the text offers tips on how to feel included in a shifting family paradigm: “If you need an extra hug, just ask.” The real core of the story, however, is showing children their special role as an older sibling and giving them a sense of agency. For instance, Reagan assures readers that although friends and family will love to visit the new baby, “You’re the expert.” That means warning visitors that "the baby squeezes pinkies very tightly" and reminding them not to feed the infant party food. Caregivers with little ones will appreciate the verisimilitude of Wildish’s cartoony digital illustrations, which show a messy but welcoming kitchen and disorderly but delightful playtime scenes. The illustrations also include fun details throughout, like the family cat and her new kittens, that complement the larger story arc. Background characters display some racial diversity. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A charming choice for transitioning families. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43060-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.

MY DAY WITH GONG GONG

Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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