Sunday, January 22, 2006

What the No-Good Baby is Good For

Broach, Elise. 2005. WHAT THE NO-GOOD BABY IS GOOD FOR. Ill. by Abby Carter. New York: Putnam. ISBN 0399238778 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 3]

When the no-good baby has been at John’s house for more than half a year he decides it’s time for her to go. Tired of sharing, listening to her cry and trying to keep from waking her up, he takes his case to his mother. She asks what they’d do without her and he answers that obviously they’d play Go Fish with nobody eating the cards and banging drums all afternoon. As they pack up the baby’s belonging they run through a list of the no-good baby’s sins and virtues: on the negative side, for example, she is always squeezing things and wrecking them; on the positive side, she squeezes the kitty’s tail so the kitty likes John best. Similarly, she causes trouble by taking things and running away with them, but also gives John a good excuse to race. Eventually, John seems to conclude that the no-good baby is not as good-for-nothing as he thought. “Forever is a long time,” pronounces John’s mother, so they opt for shipping the baby off for the day with Grandma—which means John can spend the whole day alone with his mother.

This picture book takes a fresh approach to the familiar topic of sibling rivalry and making room for a new baby in a family. Abby Carter’s kid-friendly watercolor paintings humorously capture the love/hate relationship between John and his baby sister. Many young readers will identify with the mixed blessings a new baby brings in this excellent choice for a reassuring read aloud.

Invite children to hone their comparison skills by listing the pros and cons of adding a baby to a family.

Pictures books about the ups and downs of living with a new baby:
Henkes, Kevin. JULIUS, THE BABY OF THE WORLD. ISBN 0688089437
Lindgren, Barbro. BENNY AND THE BINKY. ISBN 9129654971
MacLachlan, Patricia. BITTLE. ISBN 0060009624
Stuve-Bodeen, Stephanie. MAMA ELIZABETI. ISBN 1584302364

By Suzy Parchman

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