Wednesday, August 02, 2006

review: A Teeny Tiny Baby by Amy Schwartz

A Teeny Tiny Baby written and illustrated by Amy Schwartz.
Orchard, 1994 (0-531-06818-8); Roaring Brook, 2006 (1-59643-193-8) $12.95

"I'm a teeny tiny baby...and I know how to get anything I want" says the young narrator of this amusing journey into the world of an infant. Describing the neverending day to day chores of taking care of a baby from the baby's point of view, this is a wry but affectionate portrait of the effect these egotistical, demanding, yet nonetheless loveable creatures have on their families--showing both the tiring aspects and the incredible sense of wonder that comes from watching these new beings discover the world. Without aiming for total realism, Schwartz has created a book that will help both child and adult readers understand what babies need--and why they require so much time and effort. I love the illustrations of the baby's family, which capture the mix of adoration and weariness seen in new parents. The scenes of the mother using endless nursing time to read or talk on the phone and the dad carrying three sacks of groceries along with the baby in a sling will also evoke some reminiscent chuckles. Perhaps best of all, the long-haired mom and bearded dad--drawn in simple ink lines reminiscent of John Burningham's work--look like the ordinary young parents I know, instead of throw-backs to the fifties; casually depicted babywearing, breastfeeding and cosleeping are other themes that modern parents will appreciate. Roaring Brook has reissued this book in a smaller, appropriately baby-friendly format, with stiff, sturdy pages. (2-6)

(And what perfect timing for this reissue, I have two goddaughters expecting a sister soon...)