The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall
A young boy is told at breakfast that a new baby is coming. He has a lot of questions, but the biggest one is “Where are we going to get the baby?” So he starts asking different people. His babysitter Olive who walks him to school in the morning says that you plant a seed and it grows into a baby tree. At school, he asks his teacher where babies come from and she says “from the hospital” but he can’t ask any more questions because it’s time to clean up. That afternoon he asks his grandpa about babies, because he is the only person that the boy knows who has been to the hospital, and Grandpa says that a stork brings the baby in the night and leaves it on your doorstep. The mailman says that babies come from eggs. The boy is very confused, so that night he asks his parents and they explain about babies growing inside their mom, about seeds and eggs and the hospital. Now all the boy has to do is explain it to Grandpa who is clearly uninformed!
Blackall weaves an age-appropriate look at reproduction in this picture book. I particularly appreciated that when the older characters explained it to the boy, there were touches of honesty in each of their answers that come together cleverly in the end, except for Grandpa’s of course! It is a book that explains just enough of the details to answer preschool questions, without going into details that they are not interested in at that age.
As always, Blackall’s illustrations are fresh and unique. Her illustrations are friendly and lovely, focusing on the relationships in this boy’s life beyond his parents. They demonstrate a richness of connections that is a delight.
A great addition to library collections, this is an ideal level of information for preschoolers expecting a new sibling soon. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Nancy Paulsen Books.