Monday, April 28, 2014

Review in the The BCCB.

Another nice review for The Very Tiny Baby.  In the Bulletin of the Center for children's Books.  Again I highlighted my favorite line:

Kantorovitz, Sylvie The Very Tiny Baby; written and illus. by Sylvie Kantorovitz. Charlesbridge, 2014 32p
Library ed. ISBN 978-1-58089-445-6 $14.95
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-60734-635-7 $6.99                               R 5-8 yrs

Jacob’s parents are expecting a baby, but the usual older-sibling storyline takes on a more serious turn when the baby arrives much too early, ending up in the NICU and sending the family into a tailspin of anxiety and disruption. When Jacob’s parents turn all of their attention to the needs of the preemie, Jacob’s feelings of frustration rapidly evolve into feelings of anger (“I am thinking mean thoughts. I think the baby is ruining my life. I think we should give the baby away. I wish the baby would die”). Even when danger passes, the baby must stay in the hospital, requiring Jacob’s mother to pump breast milk (while Jacob covers his ears in frustration at the noise of the machine). Finally, the baby comes home, and while still a bit uncertain, Jacob appears mostly ready to welcome his tiny sibling. This is not a book to accidentally hand to an unsuspecting soon-to-be older sibling, but it’s a frank look at a common life situation not usually addressed for this age; Kantorovitz deals with Jacob’s very real and intense emotions with unusual honesty and a keen sense of child perspective. The pen, pencil, and gouache illustrations mimic a child’s drawing style, and they’re laid out with hand-lettered text captions in sequential bordered panels against contrasting backgrounds, as if they were in Jacob’s scrapbook. Introduced in the right context and with the right amount of adult support, this could prove a useful story to families in a similar situation; consider purchasing this for your parent shelf rather than your picture-book collection.  HM