Darling Baby

Little, Brown. Jun. 2021. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316330626.
K-Gr 3–Kalman turns a diary into a deeply personal and intimate picture book, yet also explores the common human experience of a grandparent spending time bonding with a new grandchild. A handwritten irregular text and gouache paintings with a bold color palette bring life into beach scenes; Grandma imparts wisdom through whimsical observations both mundane and profound, and by addressing the baby directly, develops a sense of immediacy that seems to invite readers into a private world. The ebb and flow of life and death is presented as part of the natural process. Pitch perfect pacing is aided by the shift in colors from day to night scenes. This love letter from grandma to grandchild captures the beginning of their relationship and also serves as a reminder that it is in the sharing of experiences that long-lasting and deep relationships are forged.
VERDICT Kalman strings together elegant yet simple vignettes into an ebullient and sophisticated family album, and the result will resonate with readers young and old.

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