WOKE BABY

Bubbling with an easy joy and nascent sense of justice—and the notion that the two can certainly go hand in hand.

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)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-295-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

FAMILIES BELONG

A joyful celebration.

Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating

  • New York Times Bestseller

THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

Wonderful, indeed

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating

  • New York Times Bestseller

A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

Close Quickview