Stupid Baby – written and illustrated by Stephanie Blake

  Stupid Baby – written and illustrated by Stephanie Blake, Gecko Press, 9781877579318, 2021 

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Picture book

What did you like about the book?  Very stylish and quite revealing about the true feelings of older siblings. A little rabbit named Simon (dressed in a mask and cape) has to be quiet so as not to wake the STUPID BABY! Then he comes to the awful realization that the STUPID BABY is here to stay! In a scene visually recalling Goodnight Moon, albeit in broad shapes and bolder colors, he’s tucked into bed by his parents, but soon imagines slobbering wolves. His parents (exhausted) send him back to bed, but Simon detours to Baby’s room and offers to look after him; both bunnies end up tucked into the cozy big-boy bed. I loved the bold colors, weird looking rabbits and the visual homage to Margaret Wise Brown.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The repeated use of the word “stupid.” I know it’s funny, but I thought some caregivers might find it a turn off. It will be a good fit for some families but not all. As the book is translated from the French, I looked up the original title, which is Bébé Cadum. This term is French slang meaning someone childish. So Stupid Baby does sound a bit harsh, compared to “You big baby!” There’s also some double entendre going on with the French title, which can also refer to the highly idealized baby who appeared in ads for Cadum hygiene products!  Simon clearly does not buy into all that.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Families looking for books to handle sibling rivalry, especially those with a new baby in the house. This book could prompt some interesting discussions about anger, jealousy and love. A natural read alike for the Kevin Henkes classic Julius, The Baby of the World (1990).

Who should buy this book? Public libraries

Where would you shelve it? It could obviously go in picture books, but if you have a parenting section for “concept” books, it could also go there.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: February 20, 2021

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