♦ Naptime in a busy house, where the baby has finally fallen asleep, means staying quiet, and it’s not easy with so many people around! Dante needs to fix the wheels on his toy truck, Shae needs to set her curls, and the neighbor, Mr. Young, needs to mow his lawn. Will the baby be able to maintain a quiet slumber? Or will the noises made by others create an awakening? For families with young children, “Shh, the baby’s asleep!” is a common refrain, frequently repeated throughout this delightful book. Short, rhyming couplets present the story in a sing-song fashion that will please preschoolers, who will want to mimic the many sounds that emerge throughout the narrative. This book expertly captures the fine line between wanting to get things done while the baby sleeps but also ensuring a docile environment. Mixed media illustrations give the images a collage-style effect and include vivid jewel tones and myriad patterns throughout. Dynamic angles increase the feelings of uncertainty as each new sound threatens. The characters in this story are multigenerational, depicted with dark skin and curly, textured hair; each person has a unique appearance yet all easily comprise a loving family. VERDICT Accessible and engaging, this tale can be used in story-hour settings, and will find a home on most shelves.
—School Library Journal, starred review
Members of an extended family shush one another to try to keep the baby asleep. The baby is laid in the crib, “finally asleep,” and Mom creeps out of the room, cringing at the creaking of the floor. The narrator, an older sibling, joins her as she finds Daddy and shushes him. The child and Daddy then find Grammy and shush her. Grammy helps shush Pop Pop, and the cycle continues until all siblings, pets, and even the neighbor have been shushed. Each character is engaged in some activity that isn’t inherently loud but, in the context of this humorous scenario familiar to many families with babies, adds to the suspense: Which innocent noise will wake the baby? As the string of effort is pulled along, readers feel the family’s roller coaster of emotional states, from desperation to frustration to exhaustion and finally relief. The text is composed of playful rhyming couplets, with sound effects hand-lettered in all-caps crowding into compositions as if they have lives of their own. The colorful, stylized illustrations add to the book’s playful tone, lending a tense energy and a sense of barely controlled chaos to this Black family’s humorous plight.
Delightful comic relief for every household with a baby.