Review Blog

Oct 19 2010

There's going to be a baby by John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury

cover image

Walker Books, 2010. ISBN 978-0744549966.
(Age 2-6) Recommended. A beautifully crafted and illustrated tale, There's going to be a baby, relates the story of a little boy's attitude to the forthcoming new arrival. Uncertain about the baby the young child asks all sorts of questions. When is the baby going to come? What will we call the baby? What will the baby do? The reader follows the mother and child's progress through the seasons while the baby develops. They visit a restaurant, an art gallery, a garden, the zoo, the seaside and the bank. At each location the mother muses that the new baby might work there when it grows up while the little boy imagines his own comical version of what the baby might do.
This is an original and sensitive treatment of a child's wonder and fear about a new sibling. The loving relationships between mother and child is beautifully depicted as the mother ensures that the little boy has a wonderful time while she is pregnant, with trips to the zoo and the seaside.
Helen Oxenbury's delightful illustrations show the extraordinary flights of fancy that the little boy imagines. These are drawn in a two-page spread with four panels to a page, reminiscent of a comic, and coloured in muted watercolours with black outlines. One page illustrations with bold colours show Mum and the little boy both growing bigger until the reader sees Grandad and the boy going to the hospital to see the new baby.
The book layout is also beautiful. The endpapers carry pictures of the baby working in all the occupations and the paper is sturdy enough for young fingers to handle over time. The print varies in colour to distinguish the conversations of the mother and child.
This is a wonderful book to read to children when there is a new baby on the horizon and would fit beautifully into a theme of family.
Pat Pledger

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