When the Babies Came to Stay

Viking. Mar. 2020. 36p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781984835451.
PreS-Gr 1–Four babies arrive on an island; one is flown in with the mail, two arrive by boat, and one is found asleep on a pile of fishing nets on the dock. Each child has a note attached requesting that the babies be raised well, given shelter, and kept safe. No one knows where the two girls and two boys came from and it’s difficult to find someone willing to care for all of them. “Then I’ll do it myself,” says the stalwart island librarian. The babies, all with differing skin colors and hair textures are welcomed into her home. Though the librarian takes them to live with her, she does not have to raise the children alone. As the youngsters grow, the harbormaster, the ferryman, and a fisherman teach the children about island life. Charming pastel illustrations, which are digitally painted, vary from vignettes to single pages and spreads, revealing the cozy living arrangements. Life above the library, sleeping in cribs made from lobster traps, and learning about all the wonders of the island combine to create an idyllic childhood.
VERDICT This delightful tale is the embodiment of the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

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