FICTION

Rock-a-Bye Romp

illus. by Simona Mulazzani. 32p. ebook available. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks. Jan. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399171505.
COPY ISBN
PreS—For singing or reading aloud, this rhyming picture book expands on the "Rock-a-bye, Baby" lullaby, opening with a gentle scene of a cradle in the treetops and a sleeping baby. With the page turn, the text begins to ask key questions: "Rock-a-bye, Baby,/in the treetop./How did you ever get so high up?/Evening is near now./Hear the wind blow./Branches are shaking…/Where'd Baby go?" The accompanying illustration, straying from the original plot, now shows only an empty cradle in the treetop. Here Baby's adventure truly begins. From crow's nest to pig's back, Baby joyously ricochets throughout a farm with a variety of barnyard animals and then onto a boat and over a waterfall. Finally, the attentive moon intervenes and has the hawk bring Baby home to its (grounded) cradle and its mother. "Babies in trees are fine in a song…/But you, little one,/are where you belong." Careful observation reveals that the mural, mobile, and bedding in Baby's room all contain the adventure's plot points and characters. Soothing, dreamy art done in mixed media, including acrylic, colored pencil, and collage on paper, keeps the dark palette and wild adventure from feeling threatening with its friendly animals and personified sun, moon, and occasional trees all keeping watch over the baby.
VERDICT This gently rhyming adventure provides a new take on a classic lullaby that may calm caregivers troubled by lyrics of babies falling from treetops.

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