Synopses & Reviews
From the New York Times
bestselling author of The Orchid Thief
comes a smart, hilarious take on what babies contribute — or don't — to the world.
Ever experienced stroller envy? Ever wished you were applauded just for walking across a room? Ever wanted to loaf about the park on a blanket in the middle of a school day with nothing on your agenda but being relaxed and happy? Then you should be a baby. They've got it made.
In this charming, droll story, a world-weary older sister ponders the question, why don't more babies work? Her answers, hilariously tinged with resentment, offer up a wickedly accurate picture of just how great babies have it.
Known for her keen and witty observations of various subcultures, Susan Orlean here turns her gaze on babies. The resulting picture book is tongue-in-cheek fun for older siblings and anyone looking for a lazy, praise-filled day.
"You don't have to be a genius to realize that babies are just lazy,' complains the peeved, thoroughly cosmopolitan young heroine at the start of Orlean's first children's book (after her well-received adult titles, The Orchid Thief and Saturday Night), expanded from a 1996 New Yorker 'Shouts and Murmurs' piece. But as our girl walks through the heart of Manhattan on her way to school, readers will quickly realize that her argument is colored by a classic case of displacement: the baby who exemplifies all that's wrong with babyhood is in fact her little brother. Clearly, no one cares that she's lugging the world's biggest backpack (a sublime visual joke) or that babies get to hang out 'mostly naked' in Central Park ('all loafing around and looking as happy as clams') while big kids like her are 'hard at work taking tests, giving book reports, and figuring out tough math questions.' Karas (Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!) matches the wry text with deadpan cartoons of jaded babies ferried in limousines or beaming as they lounge in strollers, and his handsome palette of browns and golds (with a little photo-collage thrown in for punctuation) captures Manhattan in all its autumnal glory. Obviously, life isn't so bad but to the team's great credit, the book ends neither with the narrator capitulating nor with a poignant reconciliation between siblings. One of the wittiest new-baby-in-the-family books of recent years. Ages 5 8." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Such a real expression of a singular childhood emotion, free from any didactic hammering, is a welcome arrival that kids will enjoy again and again." Booklist
"A chuckle-inducing rant in the fine old tradition of Martha Alexander's Nobody Asked Me If I Wanted A Baby Sister (1971)." Kirkus Reviews
"Orlean's reserved wit will be best appreciated by observant, inquisitive kids who harbor the slightest bit of cynicism in their little souls....This is a good one-on-one read for any youngster who has wondered why the baby doesn't have to go to school." School Library Journal
With great wit and tongue placed firmly in cheek, New York Times-bestselling author Orlean looks at the series problem of baby unemployment, told from the point of view of a disgruntled, put-upon older sister. Full color.
About the Author
Susan Orlean is a longtime staff writer for the New Yorker
and the author of several books, including The Orchid Thief
, which was the inspiration for the movie Adaptation
. She's currently working on a book about the canine hero Rin Tin Tin. She divides her time between upstate New York and Southern California.
G. Brian Karas has written and illustrated several award-winning children's books, including On Earth and Home on the Bayou: A Cowboy's Story, a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book. He also illustrated Are You Going to Be Good?, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book. He lives in Milan, New York.