Considerably taller than average, this original tale pits five towering, talented but not naturally maternal sisters against a wee baby whose continual howls actually rise in a cloud to cover parts of three New England states. Big Beryl has no trouble carving whole towns out of stone, but when she sets her chisel to making a tiny baby, the resulting noise sends her and her variously gifted sisters into such a tizzy that they can’t rightly understand even the savvy advice of Nellie, a more commonly sized lass with “two dozen or so little brothers and sisters.” Depicted as burly, mountain-sized figures, dressed in work clothes and generally exuding a capable air, the sisters tramp through their green New Hampshire hills, desperately performing one astounding feat after another as Lil Fella bawls ever more lustily. The light only dawns when, at last, Nellie takes matters into her own hands—or, to be more exact, arms—and peace is soon restored. Fans of Jerdine Nolen’s Big Jabe (2000), Catherine Anderson’s Steamboat Annie and the Thousand Pound Catfish (2001), and similar outsized yarns will holler with glee at this new arrival. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 6, 2005

ISBN: 0-374-32761-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Melanie Kroupa/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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In describing how his parents met, Say continues to explore the ways that differing cultures can harmonize; raised near San Francisco and known as May everywhere except at home, where she is Masako, the child who will grow up to be Say’s mother becomes a misfit when her family moves back to Japan. Rebelling against attempts to force her into the mold of a traditional Japanese woman, she leaves for Osaka, finds work as a department store translator, and meets Joseph, a Chinese businessman who not only speaks English, but prefers tea with milk and sugar, and persuades her that “home isn’t a place or a building that’s ready-made or waiting for you, in America or anywhere else.” Painted with characteristic control and restraint, Say’s illustrations, largely portraits, begin with a sepia view of a sullen child in a kimono, gradually take on distinct, subdued color, and end with a formal shot of the smiling young couple in Western dress. A stately cousin to Ina R. Friedman’s How My Parents Learned To Eat (1984), also illustrated by Say. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-90495-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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One of a four-book series designed to help the very young prepare for new siblings, this title presents a toddler-and-mother pair (the latter heavily pregnant) as they read about new babies, sort hand-me-downs, buy new toys, visit the obstetrician and the sonographer, speculate and wait. Throughout, the child asks questions and makes exclamations with complete enthusiasm: “How big is the baby? What does it eat? I felt it move! Is it a boy or girl?” Fuller’s jolly pictures present a biracial family that thoroughly enjoys every moment together. It’s a bit oversimplified, but no one can complain about the positive message it conveys, appropriately, to its baby and toddler audience. The other titles in the New Baby series are My New Baby (ISBN: 978-1-84643-276-7), Look at Me! (ISBN: 978-1-84643-278-1) and You and Me (ISBN: 978-1-84643-277-4). (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84643-275-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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