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The Big Baby Hardcover – March 8, 1994


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The creator of Gorilla and Zoo takes deadpan, deadeye aim at certain family dynamics in this canny picture book cum moral tale. Its main character is introduced to the reader as "John Young's dad" (tellingly, John Young himself is never seen). Dad, as his surname suggests, is rather young for his age, a trait Browne demonstrates with crisp text ("He liked very loud rock music") and precise, even crisper art (Dad, clad in black jeans, black leather jacket and a black T-shirt emblazoned with a pink teddy bear, belts out a tune on his pretend guitar--a tennis racket). Mrs. Young, observing her husband sulking in bed with the slightest of colds or the merest of headaches, turns out to be prophetic when she calls him "a Big Baby." One night Mr. Young downs a bottle of "Elixa de Yoof," and the next day he awakens as a baby--with his same adult face. Like the porcine characters in Browne's Piggybook , the infantile Mr. Young suffers the consequences of his misbehavior. Tart but never mean-spirited, story and art are deliciously ironic, a poker-faced amalgam of the realistic and the absurd. The background is peppered with sly details, e.g., the Youngs' home is decorated with a series of cunning spoofs of famous works of art. All ages.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-It's hard to know what children will make of this exploration of a vain, self-absorbed adult's fear of growing old. John Young's father fits his name-he wears youthful clothes, sports "young hair styles," prefers rock music, and has a roomful of "toys." Because he takes to his bed every time he feels the slightest bit ill, his wife calls him a "Big Baby." The day after he drinks "Elixa de Yoof" tonic, he wakes up to discover that he has turned into a toddler, but with his own face. He is no more interested in playing with his son than he was when he was a grownup. After a long nap, he wakes up his old self-but with his first gray hair. As readers have come to expect from Browne, a sense of playfulness in plot and illustration abounds. Baby bottles and rattles appear in unlikely places in the superrealistic pictures, and paintings on the walls add an extra dimension to the action. The boy narrator never appears in the illustrations. Some children may react strongly to the man-baby's grotesque, almost frightening visage when he tries to play with his blocks and use his potty. However, others will surely find the wacky combination of spare text and bizarre plot to be wonderfully silly. Those who have the opportunity to discuss the book with an adult may find more to it than meets the eye.
Ellen Fader, Oregon State Library, Salem
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (March 8, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679847375
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679847373
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 8.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,155,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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