A melding of quasi-military and spy jargon delivers a tongue-in-cheek instruction manual for new big brothers and sisters.
None of the racially diverse older siblings depicted reacts with ambivalence or displeasure at their new roles; instead, text and art show how big brothers and sisters in four families adjust with aplomb to the babies who’ve entered their families. Narrative text introduces each task the siblings must complete on their “missions” to integrate the babies into their respective families and the world at large, while speech balloons indicate how they fulfill their duties. For example, the only named character fulfills task No. 8: “SET UP COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS” by telling his little sister, “Say ‘Mason!’ Can you say ‘Mason’?” Her speech-balloon response reads, “Dada goo ga goo,” and Mason’s nearby toy robot declares, “DOES NOT COMPUTE.” The humor of each clever scenario drives the book’s success and is nicely supported by Lundquist’s cartoonish art. It’s refreshing to see moms and dads take on varied caretaking roles in the art, but it’d be even nicer to see a family other than Mason’s white, mom-dad-and-two-biological-kids family take center stage; here, the depicted characters of color take a back seat and go unnamed. This is a sweet, funny new-baby book that could be even more special with inclusion or centering of adoption, same-sex parenting or true focus on families of color.
It's amusing, but it doesn’t accomplish the ongoing mission: #weneeddiversefamilybooks. (Picture book. 3-7)