Babies Ruin Everything

illus. by Robbi Behr. 40p. Imprint. Jul. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250080578.
PreS-Gr 2—This husband and wife author/illustrator team take on the familiar topic of adapting to a new baby in this humorous story. Told from the first-person perspective of a young girl sporting raven-colored pigtails, this book catalogues the many challenges that come with a new sibling. From the moment her dad wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her she is about to be a big sister, the unnamed girl is completely opposed to this intrusion on her life. And things go downhill from there. Her baby brother demands all of her parents' attention and takes over her bedroom. Worst of all, she's expected to be nice to him. The girl finally loses her temper after her brother flushes the car keys, causing her to miss a birthday party. The following spread shows four close-up frames of the baby's face on the left, as he grows increasingly upset. On the right, four frames reflect the girl's increasing guilt at yelling at him. From here, the girl resolves to be a better sister, and the two of them prove to be a formidable team. Kids with younger siblings may identify with the protagonist's feelings. The lengthy text drags at times, but the work's eye-catching illustrations will be a big draw for children. The girl, her baby brother, her pet hamster, and her frenemy, Benny Hogarth, are drawn in a cartoon style with pen and ink on watercolor paper, while the adults and background objects are created digitally.
VERDICT Nothing new here, but this is a fun read that can empower big sisters and brothers to make the most of their new family roles.

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