A preschool-age child adjusts to life with a new baby in this emotionally satisfying board book.
Cooing comments about the new baby on the left-hand page are paired with somewhat disparaging observations from an older child in italics on the right. The older child matter-of-factly points to actual skills and accomplishments. So what if the baby has soft skin? The older sibling can count to nine! Dotlich’s poem was originally published in Climb into My Lap: First Poems to Read Together, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Kathryn Brown (1998). It’s just the right length for a board book, but the storyline is more suitable for a picture-book reader. The older sibling is beyond board-book age, as indicated by the line, “Yesterday I lost two teeth.” Young children will also miss the visual humor in Reagan’s realistic watercolors. When the child proudly asserts, “I can tie all by myself,” those shoes are on the wrong feet. A family read-aloud with both the older sibling and new baby is an ideal setting for this story. The illustrations capture the mood of the poem but may throw readers when they notice that the woman reading with the protagonist in the final picture does not look like the grandmother portrayed five pages earlier. Maybe it’s mom?
The importance of giving positive attention to the child who may be feeling overshadowed by a new baby cannot be overstressed, and it’s nice to have the reminder delivered in such a lovely, sensitive package and featuring a loving, brown-skinned family. (Board book. 6 mos.-5)