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THE BABY HOUSE by Norma Simon


by Norma Simon & illustrated by Barbara Samuels

Pub Date: March 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-671-87044-0
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

A newly illustrated reissue of a 1955 text which has held up well, in general: an expectant family first welcomes kittens, then puppies (and keeps them all, so the clear-toned watercolor illustrations offer many opportunities for counting), then a baby. The pint-size narrator is from the same mold as the irrepressible heroine of Samuels' Dolores books (Bradbury, 1986-89); they even share the same fondness for big hats and cowboy boots. The simple parallelism of the text, which shows the human mother (like the canine and feline ones) loving, kissing, and feeding her offspring, requires that the human father be anachronistically portrayed offstage or as the fond onlooker of a generation ago rather than as the active participant that he often is today. But young readers will be more concerned with the narrator, who neatly places herself just where most children would want to be—smack in the center of everything: ``All the mothers had their babies. All the fathers had their babies. And I had all their babies,'' she says happily, as puppies, kittens, and little brother clamber over her. There are more than enough books that deal with sibling rivalry; this one primes a child on all the positive wonders of being an older sibling. (Picture book. 2-5)*justify no*