Written and Illustrated by Karissa Bettendorf
Handersen Publishing 11/2/2019
18 Pages Age 0—4
. DEBUT AUTHOR–ILLUSTRATOR
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Fiction
Themes: New Baby, Lullaby, Animals, Welcoming
A new baby is excited to be a part of a new community but finds comfort at home. (from publisher)
The world is bright and warm in the slowly sinking sun.
Mama’s nearby working, as baby plays and hums.
Why I like this book
In the warm late afternoon sun, Mama and her baby are outside. Soon, evening begins to descent causing blackbirds to sing, calling time for bedtime. Before baby goes in for the night, groups of animals stop to say goodnight. They snuggle baby, and cuddle baby, and nuzzle one last time. A spotted fawn, sister foxes, a big brown bear, and a mother bunny with her own babies gives baby kisses. Baby hears each one say, “You’re everybody’s baby.” The moon smiles above, looking down upon baby, as the wind blows between green blades of grass. The moon reaffirms what the animals have said and tells baby the whole world is waiting for her. Then mama finally takes her baby in, cuddles one last time, then tells her child, “You’re everybody’s baby, especially mine.”
In rhyming verse, Everybody’s Baby is a sweet lullaby, which expresses the thought that it takes a village to raise a child. The animals all represent the community in which baby lives. Each animal cares for the child in his or her own sweet way, before reminding the baby that she belongs to everyone (and everyone belongs to her). This shared community is where the baby will find the love needed to grow. It is a simple gift, but one that is important, especially now when neighbors tend not to know who lives next to them.
Fifty years ago, we knew everyone on the block who had a child, and our parents knew those kids and their parents. We exchanged phone numbers (for those old landlines connected to the wall), shared rides, opened up our homes (only locking doors at night), played together, and grew up together. The neighborhood became a safe place. I think this is the concept Everybody’s Baby is searching to find. This is the village raising the child concept. In Everybody’s Baby, not only is this community a safe place to grow up, it is also a place to feel loved by that entire community.
The rhyming is okay, hitting a good rhyme about half the time. Other times the rhyme is slanted, such as sun/hums and soft/gruff. (Though rhyming seems simple enough, it becomes very difficult to compose correctly when it comes to publication.) The musicality is near perfect, making the text easy to read and enjoyable to hear. Everybody’s Baby is a lullaby from mom to her baby. As such, mom will be the one insisting on repeated readings.
The illustrations are well done. Images are soft and tender, with feelings oozing out of every brushstroke. Each animal handles the baby with tenderness, sensitivity, and caring. The moon, well, it’s in a great position to oversee everyone and does for the baby. No matter where the baby is, the moon will be right there with her.
Young children will like looking at the pictures while being read this story. They will notice the “catch phrase” and when able will say this along with the reader: “You’re everybody’s baby.” This short, sweet picture book makes a great gift for the family-to-be or one already with a new baby. Baby showers are a good time to give this book. Everybody’s Baby is a loving tribute to extended family and others who make up a child’s community.
One favorite spread is the one where the big brown bear cuddles with the baby, snuggling the child in its lap. The bear brings its snout down against the child’s head, helping the baby stay close to the bear’s warmth.
The other favorite spread the one with the sister foxes. While one cuddles around the baby’s back, the other gives the baby kisses. The baby holds the fox’s face near her own and laughs, probably each time the fox’s tongue touches and tickles her upper lip and nose.
About Everybody’s Baby: Note from author about how the story came to be created.
Available at Amazon
EVERYBODY’S BABY. Copyright © 2019 by Karissa Bettendorf. Published by Handersen Publishing, Lincoln, NE.
Copyright © 2020 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
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