PreS-Gr 2-Leo Leotardi has a problem, and it's plainly stated by the title and cover art. "I'm not a baby!" declaims the indignant child in a fussy Victorian pram, preposterously attired in rompers, a ruffle-edged baby bonnet, and booties. As he progresses through life-from tricycling off to school in his rompers, to his graduation speech in which he declares independence from booties and blankies, to his entry into the workforce (his nanny tying his bonnet under his manly chin), to his marriage and fatherhood-Leo's family continues to call him "the baby" against all his protestations (framed by speech balloons). It is when his own infant calls Leo "Dada" that his aging family awakens to reality. It is left to Leo's doting nanny to toss off the final absurdity, "Who ever said he was a baby?" The story has a child-appealing arc: the visual humor escalates as poor Leo looks more and more ludicrous in his baby clothes, and the predictable patterning of his repeated objections will invite ever-louder participation from listeners. The gouache illustrations on cream-colored paper present Leo's feckless family in a kind of Victorian tableau. The universality of Leo's lament and its wonderfully silly treatment will elicit giggles of recognition and, no doubt, requests for repeated readings.-Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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