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What's He Doing Now? Hardcover – March 3, 2000
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2AThis book perfectly captures that long and curious time of waiting for a new sibling. In October, Lewis is told that a baby will be delivered in May. "Like pizza?" he asks. As the months pass, other questions arise, the most frequent being, "What's he doing now?" Told mainly through dialogue, the interchange among the three family members is loving, natural, insightful, and humorous. The quiet power of Mavis Jukes's Like Jake and Me (Knopf, 1987) comes to mind. When told that the baby floats in a place "like a soft balloon that's full of warm water," Lewis remarks, "He's going to look like a prune when he comes out." Despite the boy's pithy, childlike responses, his anxiety is also evident. When his new sister finally arrives, he crosses his fingers while saying she's beautiful. Yet, all it takes is a little hand-holding to win him over. Watercolor-pencil drawings provide the perfect complement to the text. Lewis is an active kid, playing in puddles and balancing rolls on his nose. The endearing smile he wears as he hugs his mother's round belly captures his expectant joy. Bright borders interact intimately with the illustrations to become a part of the page design. The last double-page spread shows the development of a fetus into a full-term baby, while the final illustration of Lewis helping his sister, now older, to stand wordlessly celebrates the special nature of siblings.AMartha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
paper 1-55209-218-6 Lewis is expecting a new sibling, and readers follow along the journey as experienced by him. While it is one of many picture books on the subject of new siblings, Farmer's approach is a childlike articulation of the fetal growth process. For example, when Lewis asks about where the baby is hiding, his mother explains that it is growing ``in a safe placelike a soft balloon that's full of warm water.'' When Lewis touches his mother's belly, he thinks it feels like she ``swallowed a bunch of butterflies.'' The story is mostly dialogue, but Wilson is undaunted; her soft, comforting pencil illustrations combine with a clever use of borders and designs that not only dress up the page, but convey the passage of time. It's her inventiveness and the lively, expressive characterization of Lewis that carry the book along; readers will appreciate the boy's naive forthrightness and his mother's delicate answers. (Picture book. 5-8) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.