A bright, amusing glimpse at all the things woke babies do in this collaboration from Browne and Taylor.
Folks well-versed in their internet memes will remember the little webcomic “Feminist Baby,” by Loryn Brantz, companion to the 2017 board book of the same name. A couple checking to see if baby is asleep finds her both awake and “woke” as she proclaims from her crib that gender is a social construct. This picture book picks up the pun and runs with it. From raising little fists for justice through kicking glass ceilings to babbling songs of freedom, spread after spread shows a woke baby’s activities, intertwining a baby of color’s squirms, wiggles, and vocalizations with the symbols and gestures of resistance. Browne’s laconic prose communicates much while saying relatively little, leaving room for the sweeping vibrancy of Taylor’s open and up-close illustrations to direct Browne’s poetic beat toward the thrum of the page turn. The playful irony casts a shadow of gravitas as the little sequence of baby’s doings captures truths that even the youngest in families of color (and other marginalized households) must know, as well as provides conversation starters for those readers interested in nurturing a commitment to allyship. A board-book edition publishes simultaneously; Taylor’s images shrink to the format well enough, but some pages feel crowded with text.
Bubbling with an easy joy and nascent sense of justice—and the notion that the two can certainly go hand in hand. (Picture book. 1-4)