Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals

Though unlikely, it is possible that some new parents are not yet familiar with the brilliant Mo Willems (Knuffle Bunny; I Will Take a Nap; Waiting Is Not Easy; A Big Guy Took My Ball!). Fortunately, Welcome is here to rectify that. But in addition to introducing the world to the beloved Caldecott Honoree, this "Guide for New Arrivals" serves as a hilarious manual for babies. Boldly illustrated pages instruct an infant audience to "PLEASE ENJOY YOUR STAY. Many activities are available for you to enjoy, including, but not limited to: SLEEPING and WAKING/ EATING and BURPING/ POOPING and MORE POOPING." Highlights of life are touched upon ("We are pleased to inform you there will be MUSIC [CATS/STORIES]") as well as pitfalls ("WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU Not everything is as it should be. There is unkindness and fighting and wastefulness and soggy toast. You will not be exempt from any of these things").

Each cardstock spread features silhouetted images in street sign-like frames, often in yield-sign yellow: a toothless smiling baby, two halves of a bagel and a clever tryptic illustrating different kinds of stories: true (a figure in a boat catching a small fish), made up (same figure with a giant fish at the end of the line) and silly (a shark in a boat with a person on the line). With its deadpan humor and wry sweetness, Welcome clearly has those caring for small children in mind, but the bottom-of-the-page refrain, "while we read this book together" speaks to the expectation that there will be a baby or toddler on the lap of the reader.

Baby shower gift, anyone? Better than a case of Pampers! --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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