Thursday, March 15, 2012

Book Review: Whoa, Baby, Whoa! by Grace Nichols

Cute book, right? WRONG! The book is a litany of NO's. The first page shows an adorable baby getting into mommy's purse. "Woah, baby, woah!" No distractions or alternatives for this baby, instead he's constantly berated with NO's. He can't go in the kitchen, tear up newspapers or climb on stacks of books. He can't splash in the bath tub, play with his food or make a mess with spoons.

Basically, baby cannot do anything that is appropriate for his age. He can't explore his world. He doesn't have a trusted caregiver to explore with him and keep him safe. Instead, he has a horde of naysayers. Poor, baby!

I thought, at least the illustrations are beautiful, until I realized the baby has the same beatific smile on each page. He has the same expression after hearing NO over and over. What baby reacts this way? Show me a baby with a range of emotions, please.

I wish the book was more like the last spread, "Go, baby, go!" Children learn through exploration and crave encouragement. I'm not sure what a child would learn through this book. If it is just for enjoyment, what is enjoyable about hearing no? I say, no thank you.

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