The Baby Tree


Cleverly revealing the basics of reproduction in an age-appropriate way, award-winning Sophie Blackall has created a beautiful picture book full of playful details to amuse and engage readers.
Sooner or later, every child will ask, Where do babies come from? Answering this question has never been this easy or entertaining! Join a curious little boy who asks everyone from his babysitter to the mailman, ...

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Cleverly revealing the basics of reproduction in an age-appropriate way, award-winning Sophie Blackall has created a beautiful picture book full of playful details to amuse and engage readers.
Sooner or later, every child will ask, Where do babies come from? Answering this question has never been this easy or entertaining! Join a curious little boy who asks everyone from his babysitter to the mailman, getting all sorts of funny answers along the way, before his parents gently set him straight.

A New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2014

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Sarah Harrison Smith
Blackall brings great charm to everything she draws, and here watercolors of babies nestled on boughs, in birds' eggs and finally, in utero, sweetly and comically separate fact and fiction.
Publishers Weekly
★ 03/10/2014
Blackall once again excels at portraying a thoughtful child with a rich inner life, as her hero/narrator finds his world upended when his parents announce the arrival of a new baby. “I have a hundred questions in my head,” the boy confides to readers, “but the only one that comes out is Are there any more cocopops?” Regaining his bearings, he asks the other adults in his life where babies come from. Their gently evasive half-answers enable Blackall to unleash her special brand of elegant, pokerfaced surrealism; when the kindly but taken aback mailman indicates that he “thinks babies comes from eggs. But he doesn’t know where to get the eggs,” the boy imagines a cozy nest of human baby eggs in various stages of hatching. But Blackall also admires her hero’s inquisitiveness, and the way he squares his parents’ eventual, more scientific explanation with what he’s heard throughout the day (eggs are involved, after all) makes for a lovely tribute to the blossoming mind. An afterword offers helpful narratives for grownups facing a similar line of inquiry. Ages 5–8. Agent: Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. (May)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Honest and accurate language combines with a rueful acknowledgment of the varied takes on the topic to make this a sound introduction to the “Where do babies come from?” question. The text remains kid-focused; the tone is steadily inquisitive, never pedantic, and the boy is particularly endearing in his curiosity. Blackall’s line and watercolor illustrations are winsome without being saccharine, and there’s considerable humor in their depiction of the various evasive explana- tions. . . . Effectively finds the sweet spot between practical and pleasant in this lovely new addition to the sex education shelf.”
The Horn Book
* “Blackall’s text is straightforward, calm, and reassuring without being clinical. . . . Watercolor illustrations make the most of the narrator’s imaginative flights of fancy, and the cherubic, rosy-cheeked babies of different ethnicities are cute as a button. . . . An appended page provides suggestions for adults about addressing the ‘where do babies come from?’ question.”
“Engaging illustrations. . . . Each response to the question stimulates the boy’s imagination as revealed in the pictures. . . . ‘Answering the Question “Where Do Babies Come From?”’ concludes the book and contains age-appropriate responses. An appealing book for children preparing to welcome a new baby or who are simply curious.”
School Library Journal
★ 04/01/2014
K-Gr 2—A delightfully age-appropriate way to give young children the facts about conception and birth. A baby is coming, and the soon-to-be big brother has many questions, his most persistent one being "Where do babies come from?" After gathering partial answers from his babysitter, his teacher, and his grandpa, he is more confused than ever. The boy has heard that babies come from a baby tree, the hospital, and special delivery by stork. Feeling dissatisfied with these answers, he finally asks Mom and Dad, who lovingly sit down and explain exactly where babies come from. In one page, they relate the truth, explaining that an egg comes from the mother, a seed from the father, resulting in the growth of a baby—an explanation that satisfies the protagonist's curiosity and makes him realize that there is a bit of truth in every story. Well, except for Grandpa's. He just may have to explain to him where babies really come from. The story smoothly sails from tale to tale as the main character searches for answers. The back matter goes into more detail for children who would like more information. The Chinese ink and watercolor illustrations are beautifully crafted and designed in a manner that shows movement. Each page is adorned with soft colors and crisp, clear pictures that enhance the story. Another wonderful contribution from Blackall.—Amy Shepherd, St. Anne's Episcopal School, Middleton, DE
Kirkus Reviews
When a small boy learns a baby's coming to his family, he wonders where it's coming from. In words and pictures, the unnamed narrator's imagination builds a variety of possibilities from the pat responses to his query he gets from a teenage friend, a teacher, the mailman and his grandfather. Finally, he asks his parents. Their simple explanation about a seed, an egg and birth in a hospital helps him see that all the other answers (except for Grandpa's story about the stork) were partially right. As she did in Are You Awake? (2011), Blackall captures the natures of children's curiosity and family conversations. Her ink-and-watercolor illustrations include plenty of white space. They show the rosy-cheeked boy engaged in typical kid activities at home, at school and while visiting his grandfather. His question is not burning, but time passes and he gets more and more confused. (And his mother gets visibly pregnant.) The pacing is leisurely and the tone gently humorous, and the answer includes no anatomical details. Modern in its imagery (both parents have smartphones plugged in by the bed), this is just right for initiating a conversation with a 4- to 6-year-old child. A final page for parents covers less typical family situations: twins, adoption and single-sex couples. A gentle, appropriate answer to a perennial question. (Picture book. 4-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399257186
  • Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
  • Publication date: 5/1/2014
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 140,528
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD810L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Sophie Blackall ( is the illustrator of several award-winning picture books, including Meet Wild Boars by Meg Rosoff, Pecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline Woodson, Big Red Lollipop (by Rukhsana Khan), and the Ivy and Bean books by Annie Barrows. Her many honors include a BCCB Blue Ribbon, Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, Society of Illustrators Founders Award, Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book, Book Sense 76 Pick, and New York Times Top Ten Picture Book. Her artwork has also appeared in murals as part of the New York City MTA’s “Arts for Transit” program. Previously she has had jobs in a shoe shop and a robot factory. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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