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Just Like a Baby Hardcover – February 25, 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Juanita Havill is the author of more than 30 books for children and young people, including Jamaica's Find, which won her the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award. She lives in Arizona.

Christine Davenier and Juanita Havill also collaborated on I Heard It from Alice Zucchini, in which Christine's illustrations "transport readers to the ground level of the garden alongside mice, snails, crickets, and a busy young fairy" (School Library Journal, starred review). She lives in Paris, France.
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Product Details

  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; Library Binding edition (February 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811850269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811850261
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,609,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
They say that babies are egocentric little balls of hedonism, with no perspective-taking ability until much older. Well, author Juanita Havill and illustrator Christine Davenier show that adults share that dubious distinction, especially when confronted with someone else's baby.

At first, relatives and friends politely line up outside the baby's room like a crowd waiting for an audience with a king. THis deference is lost once inside baby Ellen's room. Yes, there's oohing and awwwing, but the baby-struck admiration soon turns into a very humorous display of narcissism:

"You'll be a scholar,"said Aunt Rachel. "You'll master Sanscrit and Javascript, Greek and Chinese, ponder scrolls and Web sites, just like me."

You'll drive a truck," said Aunt THelma. "Rumble, rumble in your rig, cruisin' the heartland, uphill and downhill, easy on the breaks, like me"
Ellen snoozed away.

Soon everyone is shouting their prognostications, all of which uncannily (or not) predict that Ellen will become just like the speaker. Only Papa, Mama, and Ellen herself seem to have the right perspective on things: As Mama puts it, "For now, Ellen will do just what Ellen wants." THis quiets the relatives, who finally realize that their ambitions are really their own, and that "burbling and cooing, sucking and burping, babbling and yawning, sleeping, and even yowling are all fine things to do.... [turn the page] ...if you're a baby, just like Ellen.

And at this point, the last two-page spread of the book, we finally see baby ELlen in full view.

This is a wonderful book that pokes some gentle fun at the excesses of well-meaning baby fanatics, and, with more subtlety (and no preaching) at a culture that sometimes emphasizes achievement from the get-go.
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Format: Hardcover
This is my new go-to gift for friends welcoming new babies to their families. It offers a poignant message and breathtaking artwork. Add it to your (or a friend's) library!
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