O’Leary celebrates the many things a child has learned how to do over the course of the first year of life in this first of a three-part series.
Starting with a babe in arms before progressing to crawling and walking to eating (and wearing) new foods, gesturing for things, and playing with toys, there are so many changes in the first year of life. Throughout, the narrator addresses the 1-year-old directly: “But what will never, ever change / is our love for you.” Although the sentiment is plain and the message true, it may be hard to find an audience for this. It’s not a board book that can take the abuse of a toddler, nor is it a book that new parents will have to have in their collections. Similar books have gotten by on the strength and appeal of the illustrations, but this one does not have that advantage. While visually interesting and filled with textures and patterns, the pictures themselves are an odd and sometimes-startling mix of artistic and realistic and can be hard to interpret. Characters’ visible body parts are painted photorealistically, while their clothing and surroundings are stylized—children may not recognize that one baby is sitting in a box, for instance. Skin tones are a mix, though white predominates.
Much better books fill the baby-to-toddler shelves. (Picture book. 0-3)