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There's Going to Be a Baby. John Burningham, Helen Oxenbury Paperback – September 1, 2011
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2–A wonderful collaboration by the renowned husband-and-wife team. As the winter snows arrive, a mother tells her young son that a new baby is on the way. “‘When is the baby going to come?' he asks. His mom answers ‘The baby will arrive when it's ready, in the fall, when the leaves are turning brown and falling.'” The remaining panels portray the conversations they have over the next several months as they anticipate the birth. The boy's emotions run from some initial anxiety (“‘It will make a mess everywhere'”) to realizing that he will perhaps have a new playmate to wondering if a new baby is really necessary. The illustrations alternate between mother-and-son talks at the park, the bank, the zoo, etc., with the youngster's fanciful imaginings of the baby at work and play. The artwork, done in ink with digital colorization, is classic Oxenbury and has a slightly retro feel in layout and palette. It is both sweet and comical at the same time. Overall, this lovely, oversize volume belongs in every new-baby collection.Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
*Starred Review* Burningham and Oxenbury (did you know they’re married?) are two of the finest picture-book writers around, so it’s no surprise this collaboration delights on many levels. They take on a well-trod topic, the new sibling, but their spin is purely their own. It begins with these simple words set alone on a buff-colored page: “There’s going to be a baby.” The facing page shows a young mother leaning against her young son’s bed, while he looks at her with curiosity. Painted in pure, saturated colors that fill the pages, this simple scene leads to more interchanges between mom and son, through the snow, at a restaurant, in a flower-filled garden. The questions are often simple: When is the baby going to come? What will we call the baby? But the mostly matter-of-fact answers lead to wild flights of fancy for the boy. He doesn’t want a messy baby painting pictures. The next two-page spread (like all the imaginary scenes, in blocks on a dot-matrix background) will make readers laugh at the baby’s wild spin at painting. Throughout, this is a mother-and-son-only family (though Grandfather shows up to take the boy to the hospital to see the newborn), and despite the range of today’s families, children may have questions about Dad’s whereabouts. Yet this is a gorgeous book, full of warmth, spirit, and imagination. Soon-to-be siblings will understand the boy’s musings and feel comforted as he shapes his fantasies into the reality to come. Preschool. --Ilene Cooper --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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