Sunday, May 18, 2014
The baby tree
Children's questions have way of being so simple that they spill into the philosophical. And yet one particular question kids ask stumps grown-ups more than any other, hurling us into a cesspool of self-doubt as we struggle for an answer that is neither too age-inappropriate nor so obviously fanciful that it fails to get the young inquisitor off our back: "Where do babies come from?" Thankfully, Australian-born, Brooklyn-based illustrator extraordinaireSophie Blackall, who has given us such treasures as her visual love stories based on Craigslist missed connections and herillustrations for Aldous Huxley's only children's book, addresses that dreaded question with equal parts warmth, wisdom, and wit in The Baby Tree (public library) – an elegantly age-appropriate explanation of how reproduction works that neither talks down to children's inherent intelligence nor boggles them with overly clinical dry science.
Instead, Blackall tells the imaginative tale of a little boy whose parents inform him one day that a new baby is coming./.../