Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of an infant is really like? In this bluesy story, sometimes being a baby is enough to make you cry.
Oh, baby, wouldn’t it be grand to be a baby? No worries, no woes, the whole world doing everything for you. Like floating down easy street. . . . But wait one guitar-pickin’ minute. That’s a lie! Babies can’t talk, can’t walk, can’t even really chew. It’s enough to make the baby in this story blue, blue, blue. So get ready for a sad tale of soggy diapers, mushy meals, and sleepin’ behind bars that may make you cry, too — but more likely will make you giggle! Jamming with illustrator Lauren Tobia, Carol Diggory Shields gives a tip of the fedora to B.B. King in an ode to babyhood that’ll have readers feeling anything but blue.
Carol Diggory Shields is the author of more than twenty books for children, including Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp and The Bugliest Bug, both illustrated by Scott Nash. It was time spent with her three grandbabies that inspired her to write about the challenges of being small and entirely dependent on others. As the sister of a musician, she couldn’t help but imagine a baby’s woes expressed in bluesy lyrics! Carol Diggory Shields lives in California.
Lauren Tobia says that illustrating Baby’s Got the Blues transported her back to the time when her own children were quite young, and even made her reminisce about her own childhood, when she was the big sister. Lauren Tobia is the illustrator of the Anna Hibiscus books, written by Atinuke. She lives in England.
Shields and Tobia bring an earthy, hip sensibility to these faux-plaintive lyrics sung by a baby with a bad case of the blues. ... Mom has a snaky tattoo; neighbors are as diverse as New York City; and just like babies everywhere, this one cheers up the minute he gets a cuddle.
—The New York Times
The brilliant incongruity of a baby and blues music (usually featuring soured romance, bum luck and booze) hits all the right comedic notes. Baby’s refrain, repeated after each demoralizing episode, howls out for a singalong: "B-A-B-Y, baby, Got those…baby blues." Tobia’s pen-and-ink illustrations beg for repeat visits too, with their refreshing portrayal of a bustling urban family. ... Eye-squinting details (polka dots on the underside of a stuffed bunny’s ears, a paisley pattern on a blanket, etc.) and vivid colors energize these wonderfully ordinary scenes of moms and small children.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
This portrait of a very modern family -- with its skillfully distilled domestic scenes; warm, saturated colors; and empathic, round-headed characters -- will remind some of the work of Helen Oxenbury. Best of all, the text is eminently singable by anyone with even a passing familiarity with Muddy Waters; it could quickly become an all-ages anthem for anyone connected to a newborn.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The amusing text is ramped up several notches by Tobia’s terrific artwork. ... Whether full page or vignettes, the delightful pen-and-watercolor artwork focuses in on baby, who is down in the dumps because he needs a diaper change or has to be a spectator as the older kids play ball. ... Finally, the baby blues are drowned in hugs and kisses. What could be happier than that?
The text follows the classic bluesy form, including a classic chorus ("B-A-B-Y, baby"), and it’s both funny and accurate in the details of infant frustration (some of which continue well beyond babyhood). The art gives viewers a hook in the form of baby’s older sister, who’s squirming away from the diaper change and zipping around with the freedom that the baby yearns for, thereby cleverly turning the book into a celebration of all the things post-baby kids can do that babies can’t. ... Kids plagued by attention-grabbing new babies will find this a sly and lively reminder of their own superiority and their siblings’ lovability.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
No need to feel sorry for this baby. While the guitars in some of the large illustrations rendered in ink and pencil and assembled digitally reinforce the blues theme, the pictures also reveal an attentive mom and an older sister happily looking on. Mom scoops baby out of the crib "with a ‘Kitchy-kitchy-koo!’ B-A-B-Y, baby,/Don’t you know/we all love you?" This is a story that will enable slightly older children to look back and reminisce about bygone days.
—School Library Journal
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