Just Like a Baby

Just Like a Baby

by Juanita Havill, Christine Davenier

Everyone has plans for baby Ellen. Buteven though she's just a babyEllen will do exactly as she pleases. Here is a heartwarming book for any family with a new baby, wishing for a new baby, and, most important of all, loving a new baby.


Everyone has plans for baby Ellen. Buteven though she's just a babyEllen will do exactly as she pleases. Here is a heartwarming book for any family with a new baby, wishing for a new baby, and, most important of all, loving a new baby.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The collaborators behind I Heard It from Alice Zucchini offer a warmhearted story about a family with big plans for a little newborn. Davenier's luminous watercolors and vivid characterizations are the main draw; she portrays a large, loving and highly expressive family that can't help projecting their identities onto their newest member. Among those cooing and making goo-goo eyes at the bassinette are Uncle Tony, who thinks baby Ellen is certain to be a pilot ("soaring, coasting, loop-de-looping, like me"), and Aunt Rachel, an academic, who declares that Ellen will "master Sanskrit and Javascript, Greek and Chinese, ponder scrolls and Web sites, just like me." Ellen, who isn't revealed until the final page, finally asserts herself with "an earth-shaking howl, a cloud-ruffling yowl, a listen-to-me-I'm a-baby squall." Although this book won't help ease nascent sibling rivalry-what kid wants to be reminded that everyone's attention is focused on the new arrival?-the gentle joke at the expense of the silly relatives should go over well. Ages 6 mos.-3 yrs. (Apr.)

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School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2

When Ellen is born, a parade of relatives arrives to provide career advice. Uncle Otis suggests that she become a fisherman, Aunt Clara recommends dancing, Uncle Peter proposes bird-watching, and Aunt Rachel urges her to study Sanskrit, Javascript, Greek, and Chinese. Other relatives advocate for careers as a pilot, veterinarian, musician, truck driver, cyclist, painter, potter, and professional athlete. Overwhelmed by the barrage of ideas, the infant lets out a scream, and all the extended family members finally agree that "burbling and cooing, sucking and burping, babbling and yawning, sleeping and even yowling" are all noble pursuits for now. The bright, expressive ink-and-watercolor illustrations on cream-colored paper give the book a timeless appearance. Select dialogue appears in multicolored, large-sized lettering that dances on the pages and blends with the art. While the new-baby bookshelf is rather crowded, the message of doing whatever your heart desires will appeal to all children, even those who are not welcoming a new sibling into their home.-Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL

Kirkus Reviews
Everyone in baby Ellen's extended family has big dreams for their little girl. From truck driving to bird watching, family members encourage the babe to follow in their footsteps. Ellen responds accordingly each time: She yawns, snoozes and babbles until the family's chatter finally overwhelms her. With a dramatic protest, Ellen "lets out an earthshaking howl, a cloud-ruffling yowl, a listen-to-me-I'm-a-baby squall," and proud Mama truthfully declares, "For now Ellen will do just what Ellen wants." Lively dialogue and an upbeat refrain enhance the spare text. Davenier's watercolor-and-ink illustrations seamlessly blend colors; bursts of rosy reds lead to an arresting presentation. Soft, thin lines exude a comforting familiarity, and colored typefaces vary for added emphasis. Baby Ellen remains fully hidden from view until the final double-page spread; her crossed legs and smug smile reveal uninhibited satisfaction. While the narrative's pointed message specifically targets new parents, taut pacing and soothing art combine to create a vibrant read-aloud for young listeners. (Picture book. 3-7)

Product Details

Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
2 - 6 Years

Meet 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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