Ma! There's Nothing to Do Here!: A Word from Your Baby-in-Waiting

Ma! There's Nothing to Do Here!: A Word from Your Baby-in-Waiting

4.7 14
by Barbara Park, Viviana Garofoli

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“Ma! there’s nothing to do here!” complains the precocious protagonist of this rhyming tale set entirely in utero. It’s not exactly a scintillating experience spending nine months in your mother’s womb. You’re just stuck there at the end of that dumb bungee cord (a.k.a. the umbilical cord), with nothing whatsoever to do but slosh


“Ma! there’s nothing to do here!” complains the precocious protagonist of this rhyming tale set entirely in utero. It’s not exactly a scintillating experience spending nine months in your mother’s womb. You’re just stuck there at the end of that dumb bungee cord (a.k.a. the umbilical cord), with nothing whatsoever to do but slosh around. But, oh, the endless joys you have to look forward to as you listen to the tick-tock of ma’s happy heart clock and await that happy day when you finally come out to play.

Editorial Reviews

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
Publishers Weekly

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.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
2 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

BARBARA PARK is best known as the author of the wildly popular New York Times bestselling Junie B. Jones series, which has kept kids (and their grown-ups) laughing—and reading—for over two decades. Beloved by millions, the Junie B. Jones books have been translated into multiple languages and are a time-honored staple in elementary school classrooms around the world. Barbara once said, “I’ve never been sure whether Junie B.’s fans love her in spite of her imperfections…or because of them. But either way, she’s gone out into the world and made more friends than I ever dreamed possible.”

Barbara Park is also the author of award-winning middle grade novels and bestselling picture books, including Skinnybones, Mick Harte Was Here, and Ma! There’s Nothing to Do Here!

Barbara Park was born in New Jersey in 1947 and spent most of her adult life in Arizona, where she and her husband, Richard, raised two sons. Barbara died in 2013, but her legacy lives on in the laughter her books give to readers all over the world.

Brief Biography

Scottsdale, Arizona
Date of Birth:
April 21, 1947
Place of Birth:
Mt. Holly, New Jersey
B.S., University of Alabama, 1969

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Ma! There's Nothing to Do Here! 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is such a cute book! I by for all of my prego friends
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love to give this book as a shower gift. It's fun to read to a child once they know they came from Mommy's tummy, but it's even more fun for Mommy and Daddy to read while they wait for baby. Often when you give a picture book, it sits on the shelf waiting for the child to arrive or waiting for the child to be the appropriate age. This one is really for Mom. The illustrations are not the best ever and the baby in question may not really be an "it", but they're cute and it will make the expectant parents smile.
deespicks More than 1 year ago
Ma! There's Nothing to Do Here! is a must have for both mom and or older siblings. The description of life inside before you come out of Mommy's belly is not only wonderfully illustrated by Viviana Garofoli, but the rhyming of the text makes you laugh out loud because baby is describing life so perfectly. I gave this to my daughter first, and now it is a regular purchase for all those who tell me they're expecting. This is a 5 star rating for the creative way Barbara Park writes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book for Expectant mothers for a baby shower , all the mothers I gave this too have loved it and read even after the baby is born
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book by Barbara Parks gives a unique look at what your baby might be thinking while waiting to be born. Very colorful, well-written and both amusing and poignant. A great gift to bring for a baby shower!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I gave this as a gift to my daughter on Mother's Day. She is expecting her first child and my first grandchild. She loved it. Her husband got a kick out of it, too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge Junie B. Jones fan and was surprised when a co-worker handed me this picture book today. I am 5 months pregnant with my first child and reading it was very special. This book is so sweet and funny. I'm going to Barnes and Noble tomorrow to get my own copy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got this book as a gift and LOVE it. It's a cute book to read with kids but there is also something very special about reading this book when you are expecting. It reminds of you all the special things happening. Great book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This fun little book is my new favorite! It's an absolutely perfect book for a mom-to-be, but is also so fun to read to little ones or even to yourself! My boys love the fun rhymes and colorful illustrations, as do I. This one is a playful and heartwarming book that you simply can't miss!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Nice follow-up to her other books. Taken from the perspective of a baby in the womb, your children will be intrigued with the idea.