WHO? A Celebration of Babies

Abrams Appleseed, June 2018

Illustrated by Natascha Rosenberg

WHO? A Celebration of Babies, illustrated by the loving and endearing art of Natascha Rosenberg, is the first of two board books that will be published on June 8th by Abrams Appleseed. This is the very first board book I have written and is intended for very young babies, older babies, and toddlers. This sweet book is all about the beloved people, pets, objects, and more in an infant’s day-to-day life. Each spread in the book features a different baby and even a set of twins. Cuddle up with an infant or toddler. Read or sing this story as the two of you listen to the words and look at the art and discover answers to the questions “WHO? WHO’S THAT?” each time you turn a page. The art and design of my second board book will commence this spring and will also be published by Abrams Appleseed.

Harris, Robie H. WHO? A Celebration of Babies. illus. by Natascha Rosenberg. 20p. Abrams Appleseed. June 2018. Broadbook edition. ISBN 978-1419728341. LC 1419728342.

This babycentric board book features a diverse cast of characters. Harris is best known for her matter-of-fact and accurate nonfiction (It’s Perfectly Normal, 1994; Who Has What!, 2011; etc.). Her first board book is equally positive, direct, and charming. Although the cover art shows a brown-skinned girl with two poofy pigtails looking up at the titular question, the first double-page spread answers it with a picture of a blond, white boy: “SWEET BABY! NICE BABY!” Is the promised diversity an illusion? Thankfully, no. The next illustrations are of loving pairs—a dark-skinned baby and his “DADA!” are followed by an Asian “MAMA!” “GRAMMA!” is wearing a hijab. In all, 10 different babies, including a set of twins, are shown. The text on each spread is similar, so young children will quickly join in the refrain: “Who? / Who’s that?” The answer is in bright pink uppercase letters. Each right-hand page repeats “Who’s that?” with “BABY AND…” in pink followed by the declarative, “That’s who!” The final spread echoes the first spread, with all the babies identified as “SWEET BABIES! NICE BABIES!” Rosenberg’s illustrations in a springtime palette against white backgrounds are cheery but not saccharine. The message that they are “SWEET BABIES! NICE BABIES!” is one that many babies will want to hear again and again. (Board book. 6 mos.-3) Kirkus Review

WHO? A Celebration of Babies book cover