A bookish, warm welcome to a new baby, and more.
Knisley’s colorful, digital collage illustrations depict diverse babies with different skin tones and hair colors, although framing scenes in the opening and closing spreads center on a pink-skinned, blond baby coded as male with a blue outfit. These babies, and occasional adults and children, are all depicted against the stark white of the page. Some skin and hair colors, like the first child’s very pink skin and some green coifs, are decidedly unnatural, but the overall impact is one of a broad range of humanity so that the direct address of the text can aim for universal resonance. “You can fit in tiny spots. / You get carried quite a lot! // You wear little baby shoes. / It’s very cute when you are new,” reads representative text, printed in full caps, with selected words highlighted in colors that appear in illustrations. A twist partway through the book saves it from being just another baby-shower gift by acknowledging the ways people continue to be “new” after babyhood—when we “try new things,” go to “new places,” and meet “new folks,” for example. This offers a welcome enrichment of a well-worn picture-book theme, concluding with the affirming notion that “when you love… / and you’re loved, too… // just like that, you are new.”
A new-baby book that feels new. (Picture book. 0-4)