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“Mama, can we read Babies Draw All Over the Walls With Crayon tonight?”
This is the current refrain in my house, and I am not complaining. (I’m resisting the urge to correct her, too, because I know that my daughter will be big enough to read the title herself soon, and I will miss this "threenager" know-it-all stage.)
Babies Ruin Everything by real-life married couple Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr is in heavy rotation at my house because we have our own little mess machine to contend with. Even if you don’t have a new baby, you will find much to enjoy in this fun new picture book.
Its narrator is adorable and authoritative—and NOT excited. “I didn’t want to be a big sister. Not even a little. But, apparently, I don’t get a vote,” she says. She finds the baby supremely disappointing from the day she meets him. Her parents try to remind her that he is ‘just a baby,” but by the time he misplaces the family car keys and causes her to miss out on big-head Benny Hogarth’s birthday party, she is furious and totally loses her cool.
This turning point in the sibling’s relationship is portrayed in a digital combination of pen, ink, and watercolor. Robbi Behr did a great job catching the extreme highs and lows of small children throughout the book, but this two page spread is the best. I love how she goes from cool colors to red hot. Isn’t that how babies really cry? I also love how she uses washed-out colors to keep the adults in the background of the book; it keeps the emphasis on the relationship between the siblings.
In the end, our narrator figures out that she and the baby make a powerful team. “There are two of us and two of them. Mom and Dad are no match for the baby and me,” she declares. It’s awesome to see the two kids having fun with each other, and it sends a great message for big siblings.
Interested in supporting independent booksellers. Check out Babies Ruin Everything at IndieBound.