Welcome to Your World

Candlewick. Mar. 2020. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781536206227.
Baby-Toddler–A saccharine introduction to the natural world for babies and new parents. A mother cuddles her newborn on a picnic blanket under a shady tree. “Welcome to your world,” she says. Subsequent spreads show animal parent-child pairs in lushly illustrated natural habitats: cheetahs on the plains, deer in the meadow, polar bears under the northern lights. The text invites the infant to “Look out to the forests.... Can you see the butterflies?” The book’s aim, revealed in the final spreads, is to instill awareness of the preservation of the natural world. The world “loves you through and through.... Will you love it too?” Watercolor illustrations use bold, earthy tones, and there is a sense of movement in each scene. Waves crashing on jagged rocks, water spraying, and butterflies fluttering make these images worth pouring over. However, the opulent scenery and variety of animal life are too complex for infants and children under one year, and older toddlers will chafe at being addressed as “baby.” Ultimately, the sentimentality plucks at the heartstrings of new parents and makes no attempt to move in any other direction.
VERDICT Solely for new parents who want to ruminate on bringing a new life into the world. Optional at best.

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