Baby Tootie seems like a typically cute baby until her older brother notices an alarming change in her behavior when she gets two suspiciously sharp front teeth.
“We should have known right then,” states the brother when the doctor observes that two new teeth are “[c]anines….Most unusual,” but the boy struggles to convince his parents that Tootie is far from normal, since she’s always sinking her fangs into him. Her widow’s peak, appetite for “blood red” food and late-night habits all appear to prove the brother’s point. But his parents think the teething is “[n]othing to worry about.” Fed up, he hatches a plan. During a trip to the store, the brother goes to the costume section and dresses up Tootie “in a Dracula cape” and equips her carriage with a sign advertising for a “good home for Vampire Baby.” They meet a likely family in aisle 13, but the young boy (is he a real vampire, or just dressed like one?) gets too close. When Tootie chomps his nose, he scolds her: “AAARGH! YOW! OW! BAD BABY!” Readers can guess how this spurs Tootie’s brother into action to defend her. Meisel’s illustrations, executed in acrylic, watercolor, collage, pencil, ink and pastel, are full of details that add light, humorous touches to the tale, lending just the right touch of charm.
Casting Tootie as a potential vampire gives the well-worn new-baby theme a fresh, comic twist. (Picture book. 4-6)