How You Came to Be

Penguin ­Workshop/Rise. Apr. 2022. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593225738.
PreS-K–Addressing their baby, a birth parent rapturously narrates the monthly pregnancy progression, beginning with the meeting of the cells and continuing on to a zygote, an embryo, a fetus, and eventually a newborn. For each month of the nine, a simple unrhymed poem relates a few physiological facts about each stage, also providing the ever-popular produce size comparison. “You grew and grew– / as large as an avocado! / Your eyes were still closed. / But–guess what? /You could move them from side to side.” Small vignettes of the lone child-bearing figure with a growing belly (portrayed in several different skin and hair colors but always with long hair) accompany each poem on the verso, along with a larger picture of the fruit or vegetable on the recto, illustrated in a pared-down digital style against an all-black background. There is a small glossary at the end giving a list of “Helpful Words to Know,” two brief paragraphs on “What Babies Do,” and “How Babies Are Born,” as well as a bibliography.
VERDICT A sweet gift for expectant parents and a suitable read-aloud for an older sibling or a child curious about baby development.

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