15 Things Not to Do with a Baby
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This issue’s cover illustration is from The Farm Beneath the Water by Helen Peters. Thanks to Nosy Crow for their help with this cover.
What happens when a new brother or sister arrives in the family? Anxiety, anticipation and jealousy are likely reactions from the older sibling. There are a number of books addressing this situation - the lovely Burningham/Oxenbury collaboration There's Going to Be a Baby for one, or Lauren Child's The New Small Person. The approach can be serious or, as is often the case, take a humorous position. Margaret MacAllister opts for the second, imagining a range of situations - some perfectly possible, others ridiculous - that subtly suggest the extreme feelings that the baby's arrival can arouse. In this she is ably assisted by new illustrator, Holly Sterling. Her cheerful illustrations emphasise the underlying closeness of this family, turning what could be very difficult emotions into ones that can be handled with laughter. This effect is enhanced by her soft palette and chunky shapes. Her baby and his older sister bounce off the page with an endearing cheerfulness that demands a positive response. Here is an artist who, like Sarah Garland, is portraying a recognisable family with a freshness that is immediately attractive. The topic may not be new but the presentation is lively and engaging and establishes Sterling as an illustrator to watch.