A little black boy revels in filling “one of the most important roles in the family”—big brother.
The little boy, who looks to be about 4 or 5, tells readers how he helped Mommy and Daddy before the baby arrived, how he waited with Grandma while his parents were at the hospital, and how he adapts to the new family member. Hudson lays out a best-case scenario for her narrator and his family: he helps with apparently unflagging cheer. He proudly shares that he “knew how to dial 911 and call Daddy if the baby came early,” a detail absent from most baby-on-the-way books that’s presented matter-of-factly and without alarmism. Although the narrator is very close to a big-brother ideal, he does express disgust with “stinky diapers,” frustration with “people telling me to SHHHH because the baby is sleeping,” and disappointment when a parent can’t play because “I have to take care of the baby.” By the end of the book, the narrator understands more fully the role of big brother and is able knowledgeably to answer “Good” when “Daddy asks how my new job is going.” Walker’s airy watercolors evince on every page the love the members of this comfortably middle-class, all-black family feel for one another. Next to them, the bold, sans-serif typeface can look jarring, but it has the advantage of being easy to read for children transitioning into independence.
There’s plenty of room on the new-baby shelf for this sturdy big brother. (Picture book. 4-8)