HMH has a new lap board book edition of Everywhere Babies coming out next month, and it is a already a favorite in our household. Everywhere Babies was written by Susan Meyers and illustrated by Marla Frazee, and originally published as a hardcover picture book in 2001. This new edition is an oversized board book, thick enough to lie open on the floor, but, at about 10" square, not too big for a one-year-old to turn the pages.
Meyers' text is simple and rhythmic, and begs to be read aloud. Each page says, in big letters, "Every day, everywhere, babies ... (something)". ("are born", "are kissed", "play games", etc.) Then a series of vignettes appears, each with a brief, smaller, text description ("peek-a-boo", "pat-a-cake", "this-little-piggy", etc.). Read aloud together, the smaller text descriptions form mini poems. For example:
"Every day, everywhere, babies make friends
with a puppy, a kitten, a goldfish, a bunny,
with young people, old people, anyone funny."
I can imagine that preschoolers will enjoy predicting the text, helped on by the repetition of the structure, the rhyming, and the pictures. For babies, this is a soothing read-aloud, not to mention being chock-full of pictures of ever-fascinating babies.
Marla Frazee's illustrations are a delight. Frazee, the woman who brings Sara Pennypacker's Clementine to life, is one of my favorite illustrators. Here, she includes babies of all shapes and sizes and colors. The babies are distinctive and gorgeous, varying in eye color and hair texture and expression. While they are clearly drawings (not photos), they look real.I can't even imagine how much time she must have spent on all of these illustrations.
I was especially drawn to the second page spread, showing two different babies being kissed by loving, but clearly exhausted parents. There's so much detail in each drawing, from the steaming cup of tea atop a pile of books on a mom's nightstand to the dad in boxer shorts and athletic socks on a worm sofa.
Everywhere, Babies has a similar feel to Mem Fox's Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes (which I adore but have somehow never reviewed). It is one of my new favorite books, and is going on my mental list of books to give as baby gifts.
It also has baby Bookworm's stamp of approval. After reading this aloud to her the other day, I left it, closed, on the floor of her playspace. Since then, I have found her looking through it several times. She seems like the pictures of the babies, and to find the large size appealing for flipping through on her own. She doesn't know that it's supposed to be a "lap book", of course ;-)
One small warning for parents of young children. This edition comes with a custom "Baby on Board" window cling (MUCH nicer looking than the usual such stickers, featuring a circle of babies from the book). The cling is attached to the inside back cover of the book by several round stickers. These stickers, I have learned, are tempting for babies to eat. I recommend removing the cling and disposing of the stickers before handing the book over to your kids.
And you should hand this book over to your kids. It is lovely! Everywhere Babies, and particularly this new lap board book edition, has my highest recommendation.
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Books (@hmhbooks)
Publication Date: June 13, 2011 (this edition)
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission on purchases (with no additional cost to you).