Baby, Sleepy Baby by Atinuke,  illustrated by Angela Brooksbank

Baby, Sleepy Baby by Atinuke,  illustrated by Angela Brooksbank. Candlewick, 2021. 9781536219869

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

Format: Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book?  A family of three adults (mom, dad, and grandma) and one big sister coo a lullaby to a busy baby, dancing and lulling the little one to sleep. Each double-page spread features one sentence in a large, sans serif font, chanting simple text. For example, “Baby, funny baby, I’ll gather the clouds,” followed on the next page by “to cuddle you, cozy and close.” I liked the simple language, which would be easy for an older sibling just learning to read to sound out on their own. The dad and grandma have dark skin, while the mom is light skinned, with blond hair. Baby and big sister resemble each other, with skin color right between their parents and dark, coiled curls. The illustrations (all bleeds), done with a combination of painting, printing, and drawing, are realistic but soft, filled with rounded shapes and quiet, harmonious colors, gradually fading to black as the baby falls asleep. Charming endpapers feature a light colored sky filled with stars as the book opens, with a deep blue star-covered sky closing out the night.  This is a comforting, sleepy story, filled with tenderness. It’s lovely to see a mixed race family and to see both parents (and a grandma) so intimately connected to childrearing and working in concert.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This would be a great, updated offering for bedtime. Adults may be familiar with Atinuke, and Brooksbank, who also co-authored the Anna Hibiscus series. 

Who should buy this book? Public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

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: January 25, 2022

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