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BABY FACES by Mallory Loehr


by Mallory Loehr & illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Age Range: 0 - 2

Pub Date: May 22nd, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-375-87031-6
Publisher: Random House

There's not enough visual variation in these babies' faces to cause many smiles to break out.

This brief review of babies' facial features presents individual spreads that each focus on a different body part, with a corresponding movable tab. Dry phrases fail to energize the concept—“When the wind begins to blow, / Baby's hair goes to and fro”—and descriptions lack depth (“Baby's tongue is very pink”). Initially beguiling, the babies' expressions take on a certain sameness, resulting in a bland presentation. All eyes point upward, looking above and beyond the audience, forgoing any natural connection between viewers and the depicted child. The tabs' colors blend into the background, making some of them hard to find. There is also difficulty in manipulation of the flimsy design; some devices require significant jostling. The effectiveness of each example varies; the tongue barely moves while eyes clearly wink and blink. The offering proves not durable enough to withstand repeat viewings.

This fails to bring life to the impressive real-life range of tots' mannerisms. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)