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by Spike Lee, Tonya Lewis Lee, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Age Range: 1 - 4

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-689-83233-8
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Parents and caregivers will recognize the ritualistic pleading that takes place when spending the day with a toddler. Sounding like a broken record, a mother pleads with her daughter to share her toys, eat a balanced meal, and finally go to sleep. As she plays on her mother’s tummy, up way past her bedtime (the clock radio shows 3:01 a.m.) her mother pleads, “Go back to bed, baby, please, baby, please.” When she dumps the contents of her breakfast, “Not on your HEAD, baby baby baby, please!” Each page features an impish grin and impossibly beautiful eyes peeking out from under a tangle of perky curls, but the angelic expression does not change the fact that this little one is all devil. A tiny clock records the time of day at the beginning of the line of text on each double-paged spread, but it’s the rambunctious tot who captures all of the focus. Vivid illustrations of this African-American family full of love and patience for their strong-willed daughter will evoke laughter as the parents attempt, with mixed results, to guide their charmer’s behavior. Sure enough, the closing line turns the tables as the little girl asks for a kiss, “. . . Mama, Mama, Mama, please.” Richly colored and meticulously detailed paintings highlight the tiny, but determined imp with curls that literally spring from her head. The repetitive text, sunny illustrations, and entirely familiar scenarios will make this a favorite of parents and children alike. (Picture book. 1-4)