October 21, 2016

King Baby

by Kate Beaton
Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic
40 pp.
Ages 4-8
September 2016

Though some parents might not find it humourous the way the baby in King Baby has his parents running to and fro to make his life perfect–perhaps they'll see it as castigating their own efforts–children and others will laugh at the uproarious manipulation by a swaddled egg of a baby to get everything, and I mean everything, that he desires, now and forever.  Yep, as the book says, "It is good to be king."

From King Baby by Kate Beaton

From King Baby’s birth, after which he is presented to his many admirers bearing gifts and admiration, the baby is generous with his smiles and laughs and kisses, his wiggles, gurgles and coos.  But then he begins to demand: food, burping, changing, bouncing, being carried.  It’s endless.  For King Baby, life is grand.  For King Baby’s parents, life is exhausting.  He sees them as subjects, fools even, though their ineptitude finally gets him up and toddling.  His future is even more glorious now with all that he can accomplish, though not always to everyone’s delight. (The cat looks a little dismayed.)  But King Baby has to grow up, and becoming a big boy, he learns that they’ll be going through the whole process again, this time with Queen Baby.

It’s obvious that Kate Beaton, known as Auntie Katie to the Malcolm to whom she dedicates the book, knows that of which she writes and illustrates.  A new baby is a wondrous joy but an exhausting one.  Kate Beaton’s quirky illustrations, especially of King Baby as a rotund creature swaddled in a blanket and topped with a golden crown, are too funny, and lend a comical air to a bizarrely normal yet wacky situation i.e., the joy and adoration of a new baby.  I don’t know if Kate Beaton meant to give King Baby that evil glint in his eye but he seems to know what he’s doing i.e., making everyone jump to satisfy his every whim.  Without the means to communicate with clarity, King Baby has them running around doing everything to appease him.  Ah, it’s good to be king!
From King Baby by Kate Beaton

Share this hilarious book with any new parents you know.  If they’re not too tired, they’ll certainly see the humour in their situation.  And if they’re just too tired, share it with the aunts and uncles and grandmothers and grandfathers and godmothers and everyone else who appreciate the cuteness that is a new baby but recognize the long haul of parenting still to come.  Hail the royal entourage!

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