Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Inspired by Ms. Park's viewing a sonogram of her grandson, expectant parents will enjoy this silly little book, but toddlers probably will not have a clue what it is about. The rhyming is quite clever and the illustrations are cute. Pregnant women will imagine their babies-in-waiting trying to play tag or chase a ball. The baby complains about not having room to swim or paddle a canoe. There is no puppy to play with and not even one toy. And the baby is flat out of room, not mention being bored with the "bungee" cord. Baby does try to stay busy by sloshing around or kicking and sometimes hiccupping. Perhaps some hair will grow on baby's hair, but there is none there yet. Baby wishes for a stuffed animal for company or even a balloon, but it better come soon, because it is almost "show time." Are you ready for that? Are you stocked up on diapers, shampoo, a crib, and all the other things new babies need? Baby decides to rest up and grow bigger and stronger. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
Dear Ma," says this story's prenatal narrator, "What's a baby to do in a womb with no view?" Park (the Junie B. Jones books) proceeds to catalogue in rhyme all the things lacking in his or her current environment ("No puppies. No toys./ . . . Not a sandbox or swings . . . / Or those monkey bar things"), and throws in a last-minute to-do list ("You're set for me, right? You've got a night-light?"). Garofoli (Sophie's Trophy), working in much the same vein as Laura Cornell, contributes lots of sweetly silly, nursery-hued illustrations, wildly exaggerating her subject's oversize head while being slightly more discreet about the mother's oversize tummy (although the crowded in-utero portraits may remind some adults of the famous stateroom scene from A Night at the Opera). Strategic poses obscure the baby's sex, in keeping with Park's gender-neutral writing. But while there are many individually clever lines and pictures, the list-dependent premise here precludes the development of a full-fledged story. Accordingly, this book might be a better choice for expectant parents than expectant siblings, or for kids old enough to enjoy a fetal fantasy onto which they can project themselves. Ages 2-5. (Jan.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Christina M. Desai
If a baby boy in utero were to write a letter to his host, this book is what he might have to say. Barbara Park, of Junie B. Jones and other chapter book fame, uses witty rhyming verse to explore what this baby's thoughts might be. Mostly he voices loud complaints about the cramped quarters. Park's comic imagination takes off from the fact that the fetus is suspended in liquid to imagine his complaining about having no room to swim, followed by his wishing for a canoe! But baby-in-waiting also has misgivings about life on the outside. He is not so sure that Ma is ready for his appearance or that he'll be able to hold his head up, literally, on the outside. Garofoli, the illustrator, exploits the roundness of the baby's temporary home, and winds the text around the bulbous shapes of the top-heavy unborn's world. This book will be sure to delight pregnant moms and the young siblings of babies-in-waiting and invite their sympathies. This funny fantasy makes no attempt to inform readers about pregnancy or childbirth, but could gently help young children begin to understand how babies are born. Reviewer: Christina M. Desai
School Library Journal
PreS- An amusing vision of a life in utero may have trouble finding an audience. The androgynous "baby-in-waiting" is bored: "My choices are slim./There is no room to swim./I'm so tired of floating./I'd love to go boating,/But where's the canoe?/MA!/There's nothing to do!" After listing a variety of complaints, the narrator decides that it's almost "Show Time" and asks Ma if she's ready, describes some things that will occur after birth, and promises to see her and dad soon. Park's rhymes scan and read aloud well. The brightly colored illustrations start on the endpapers as the mother-shown from neck to just below her very pregnant belly-prepares the nursery. Featuring a very bald baby who is mostly head, the pictures alternate between views from inside the womb and scenes reflecting the many play fantasies listed. The large text font adds movement as it wiggles and spirals across the pages. This humorous story may work while discussing where babies come from with preschoolers or for pregnant moms to read to older siblings. However, its best audience seems to be the expectant mothers themselves, and it is likely to appeal more as a shower gift than as a children's book.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.