A New Baby

Norwood House. Jan. 2022. 32p. Tr $25.27. ISBN 9781684507894; pap. $11.94. ISBN 9781684047338.
PreS-Gr 1–A gallery of bright color photos featuring a racially diverse cast of recently arrived babies being cuddled and cared for exerts predictably strong visual appeal, but the informational content in this controlled vocabulary reader is skimpy at best. Yes, babies need to be fed, carried, and allowed to sleep; like to look at colorful toys, even if they can’t hold them; and should be placed in a car seat or stroller for safe travel. And, yes, dads are shown as caregivers as often as moms are in the pictures. But otherwise, the overall picture of infant care isn’t particularly realistic, as the infants on view are bottle fed only, are posed in a basin beneath strategically placed suds, and so swaddled up that only once is there ever even a hint of a diaper—and that is only a small, partial glimpse. Also, though Lindeen is mostly careful to use nongendered language, she slips up on one page by suggesting that rocking or patting a baby “can help him feel better. Then he will stop crying.” Three final pages of reading reinforcement exercises in smaller type, including a complete word list, throw a pedagogic cast over this outing.
VERDICT The eye candy may bring emergent readers flocking, but the light informational payload positions this more as a tool for literacy training than a celebration of its ostensible topic.

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