Review Blog

Nov 28 2016

King baby by Kate Beaton

cover image

Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406371758
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Babies, Family, Humour. No-one will be able to hold back tears of laughter as the baby in this story is shown at the centre of all that goes on within the family. We all have experience of how a baby disrupts the orderly routine of the household, and how it becomes the centre of everyone's attention, but this wonderful picture book shows this with infectious wit and humour. The proud parents show off their offspring to all visitors in the first double page. They are all entranced, taking photos, gurgling, cooing, holding, watching and kissing. But then it starts. The demands come thick and fast: feed me, burp me, carry me and change me, until the parents are exhausted, surrounded now not by the neat, orderly house but a mess comprised of a load of baby detritus.
I love the way the seemingly simple illustrations detail the baby's moods and behaviors : aggression, boredom, smugness, contentment, demanding and so on, all with a stroke of the pen for his mouth. His crown is firmly stuck on his head as he goes from one development stage to the next, despite his weary parents, but another story is growing in the background in the last few pages, designed to knock the crown from his head. I laughed out loud, with sniggers of recognition at a baby's unfailing self centredness. This is a joy. And an excellent read aloud and sharing story for younger readers and adults alike.
Fran Knight

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