Filmmaker Spike Lee and wife Tonya Lewis Lee join the ranks of other celebrity kids' book writers with their sweet, rhythmic read-along about the endless energy of a toddler blasting through a busy day.
The Lees' diapered dynamo starts early (the VCR reads 3:01 a.m.), with the little girl outlasting her mama sprawled out on the living room floor ("Go back to bed, baby, please, baby, please"). A breakfast of upturned Cheerios follows a few hours later ("Not on your HEAD, baby baby baby, please!"), then play time, a trip to the playground, dinner, and a bath ("Please don't splash, baby baby, please, baby!"). The fun repetition doesn't change up until the book's sweet close, as the curly-haired tyke somehow can't get to sleep ("Kiss me good night? Mama, Mama, Mama, please").
The Lees have as much or more success than their high-profile counterparts (Jerry Seinfeld: Halloween, John Lithgow: Marsupial Sue; and Jamie Lee Curtis: I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem), thanks in large part to their excellent choice of illustrator Kadir Nelson, whose work has appeared everywhere from Sports Illustrated to the New Yorker. Just as he did with Will Smith's Just the Two of Us, Nelson uses his enormous talent to inject energy and emotion into each richly colored, Rockwellian spread. (Baby to preschool) --Paul Hughes
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From Publishers Weekly
Many grownups will recognize the title as the comic carnal plea uttered by Lee (as Mars Blackmon) in his 1986 film, She's Gotta Have It. Now, the filmmaker and his wife/co-author, who have two children, have turned those words into a G-rated parental entreaty-directed at an inexhaustible toddler. "Go back to bed,/ baby, please, baby, please./ Not on your head,/ baby baby baby, please!" The large typography seems to writhe in vain supplication. The cherubic toddler, whose chocolate ringlets circle her head like restless electrons, tests her parents' patience in myriad ways, and Nelson (Just the Two of Us) has a knack for picking just the right angle. For the first of his handsome, burnished-toned acrylic spreads, readers share a toddler's eye-view. In the foreground are the feet of the prone, exhausted mother, a plastic ring from a stacking toy hanging from her left big toe, as a very wide awake baby plays horsey on her stomach. The clock on the VCR reads 3:01 a.m., and a bedtime video playing on the TV clearly makes no impact whatsoever. A tantrum when it's time to leave the playground, plus a chaotic meal and bath occasion other imploring phrases from the parents, whose presence Nelson suggests with just a foot or an arm outstretched to the youngster. But at book's end, the tables are turned: "Kiss me good night?/ Mama, Mama, Mama, please," says the girl, standing in the doorway of her mom and dad's room. The final wordless picture, a loving embrace, leaves no doubt of who loves this baby. Ages 2-5.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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