Old MacDonald Had a Baby – written by Emily Snape, illustrated by K-Fai Steele


 Old MacDonald Had a Baby – written by Emily Snape, illustrated by K-Fai Steele, Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group, LLC, 9781250302816, 2019

Format: Hardcover

Rating:1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

What did you like about the book? To the tune of a well-known children’s rhyme, Old MacDonald takes us through a day-in-the-life of a dad.  With the help of some familiar, anthropomorphic barnyard animals, Dad tends to his baby’s every need after waving his husband off to work; MacDonald’s hair gets progressively grayer as his little tyke causes chaos but there is still plenty of room for lots of hugs, kisses, and love in this adorable relationship that will ring true for both caregivers and kids.

Steele’s illustrations accurately portray the energy of a baby with blurred lines indicating fast movement and big eyes accompanied by a big grin on nearly every page.  A majority of the illustrations opt for a white background to allow focus to land on the action and characters; when a full room or area is depicted, it has a bigger comedic effect as readers can see the outcome of baby’s messes.

Snape’s rhythm always fits the traditional tune of “Old MacDonald,” but adds in a variety of vocabulary for little readers to learn; lovely and lesser-used words like “swerve,” “guzzle,” and “raucous” make their way onto the page with context clues to allow readers the opportunity to figure out the meanings on their own.

Caregivers will appreciate the humor that stems from the surprises of childcare while little ones will love the animals, music, and action.  An overall hit, this title is sure to be great for larger groups and one-one-one reading.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  Nothing!  Here’s hoping we can see more of this lovely family.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Kids aged 2 to 6 will love the rhyme and rhythm of this title in either a storytime setting (be sure to get everyone clapping to the beat!) or a one-on-one setting.

Who should buy this book? With the combination of a cute baby, a familiar song tune, and the representation of a non-traditional family, this book is a must-have.

Where would you shelve it ? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? When planning a farmyard or family storytime, take a peek at this one!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA

Date of review: December 15, 2019

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