Saturday, July 31, 2010

Kid Konnection: The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade

Each Saturday, Julie from Booking Mama hosts a feature called Kid Konnection where participants talk about children's books - picture books, middle grade fiction, whatever.  This weekend marks the first time I'm participating in Kid Konnection.  Since we read so many kids' books, I thought it would be a fun way to include more of our thoughts and reviews of such here on the blog. 

We recently read an incredibly fun book called The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade by Deborah Diesen.  Here's what we thought.  

The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade
written by Deborah Diesen
illustrated by Tracy Dockray
Tricycle Press, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.
published 2010

They've eaten one too many mashed peas and played one too many games of peek-a-boo. They're fed up with bibs and saying good riddance to cribs. They're cranky and grumpy. Make no mistake about it, they're going to let their screaming infant voices be heard. 

They are the barefooted, bad-tempered, baby brigade and children's author Deborah Diesen gives them to kids and parents alike in all their adorable protesting glory in this hilarious picture book. 

"It was quarter past six when the babies set out,
dragging banners and posters and signs that they'd made.
They flung off their booties and took to the sidewalks,

'We can't all walk yet, but we're marching in protest,'
they called to their parents who brought up the rear.
'We've plenty to say, and it's time that you heard it.
Take notes. You will need them. We'll try to be clear.

(In a scene familiar to any parent of a child ready and raring to go at 6:15 a.m., the parents are bleary-eyed and bathrobe-clad as all these declarations of independence are being made.)

"We won't get our hair cut.
We won't wear our sun caps.
We won't play with smart toys to skip us a grade.
We won't like the doctor. We won't take our naps.
Stop tickling our tootsies and kissing our noses!
Stop calling us sweet and adorable names!
Stop blowing loud raspberries right on our bellies!
And stop, oh, please stop, with those peekaboo games!
Face facts: We're whiny. We're messy. We're smelly.
We keep you up nights and wreck plans that you've made.
We dump out our toys and make ear-splitting noise

Betty and Boo are a little older than the age range of 3-6 for this book, but that didn't stop all of us from laughing and enjoying The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade. This is one of those books that is perfect for parent and child alike.  The adult will nod along with the confirmation at long last that their cherubs really do have an organized plot afoot to drive their parents crazy, and kids will find it amusing to see babies crawling down Main Street chanting "goo goo" and "ga-ga."  The heartwarming ending reminds us that, despite the toddlers' theatrics, these trying times are ones to treasure.

The illustrations by Tracy Dockray are also a delight. There seem to be hundreds of young'uns in these pages but the picture capture each grimace and clenched fist of protest. They're simply drawn, but with plenty of amusement for parent and child alike. If her illustrations look a bit familiar, it might be because Tracy is the artist behind the new illustrations in the new Beezus and Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. 

At first I thought this would be a great baby shower book, but ... no.  You see, at that stage you're still in that gauzy-blissful frame of mind where you think that parenthood is going to be one big baby-fresh smelling Johnson's Baby Shampoo commercial.  No, this is a book that's perfect to give for the kid's first birthday (along with a gift certificate to a spa or for a housecleaning or a dinner out at a five-star restaurant for the sleep-deprived stressed out parent.)

I absolutely loved this book and was delighted to see on the back cover that author Deborah Diesen has a blog, Jumping the Candlestick.  (Love that title ... and I love that someone else admits to reading almost as many blogs as I subscribe to, as evidenced by her lengthy blogroll that I need to spend more time with!)

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Julie P. said...

Thanks so much for sharing this adorable book. I think it's funny how my kids still enjoy those picture books, even when they are well past the recommended ages ranges!

Debbie said...

I was thrilled to run across your review! Thank you for making my day. I had such fun writing about those bad-tempered babies, and I love how Tracy turned each and every one of them into a unique character on the page.

I'm also very happy to have discovered your blog! I'll definitely be back.

Debbie Diesen

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Thanks for the kind words, Debbie! Glad you liked the review. It was a really fun book and I would imagine it was fun to write, too.

The Noltes said...

This review was so well-written and positive that I want to run to a book store and purchase Ms. Diesen's work. I can't possibly wait for to deliver!
I first heard of Ms. Diesen's talent from our daughter's blog Read These Please. I only wish I would have had these types of resources when I was teaching!
Mama Nolte