Book about new baby buzz ‘rewards careful readers’“Room for the Baby,” by Michelle Edwards, doesn’t begin with a baby or a pregnancy. Rather, it focuses on Mom.
By: Jean Patrick, Republic Book Columnist
“Room for the Baby,” by Michelle Edwards, doesn’t begin with a baby or a pregnancy. Rather, it focuses on Mom.
She’s a practical packrat.
According to her young son, everyone on 18th Street gives her their leftovers — yarn, worn-out sheets, even leftover bolts of flannel — because they know that she can put them to good use.
Then, news about the baby comes. Where will the baby sleep? The sewing room, says Mom. The boy worries. Can Mom use up everything she has saved before the baby is born?
At this point, the book becomes a race against time. Sheets turn into diapers. Old pajamas turn into new sleepers and onesies. Holey sweaters and mittens turn into baby blankets and new mittens.
As for the clutter in the rest of the room? The boy springs into action. He holds a “free stuff” giveaway and invites all the neighbors.
“Room for the Baby” rewards careful readers. As the book progresses, the sewing room clutter takes on unexpected forms, including some surprising gifts from the people on 18th Street. As the boy explains, “We use and reuse it all and sometimes we make something new.”
“Room for the Baby” is told against the backdrop of several Jewish holidays. When Dad announces the news that a baby will be born, the family is buttering their Passover matzos. When baby Lily is born, it is the third night of Hanukkah. Although author Michelle Edwards has illustrated many of her own books (including the award-winning “Chicken Man”), “Room for the Baby” is illustrated by Jana Christy. The colors are warm, heavy with pinks and reds. Both Edwards and Christy are also known for creating their own crafts. Edwards is the author of “A Knitter’s Home Companion,” Christy enjoys deconstructing clothing “to refashion into weird animals.”
Their attitudes are contagious. “Room for the Baby” inspires readers not just to clean their rooms but to do some heavy duty recreation. “Room for the Baby.” By Michelle Edwards. Illustrated by Jana Christy. Random House, 32 pp.