Christine Kidney, The New Baby and Me!, Illustrated by Hoda Haddidi

Tiny owl, 2018, ISBN 978-1-910328-18-7

Five siblings await a baby's arrival into the family. Each of them has their own vision of what the baby will be like. The scientist of the family has no doubt that the baby too will be one, 'just like me', and that they will look and think and discover together. One of the others is equally convinced that he will be an explorer 'just like me', and that they will find new lands and rare beasts. 'My baby brother will be an artist, just like me', proclaims another. 'We will paint the world inside and outside.' The pirate, of course, thinks their new brother will sail the high seas for treasure with him. As for the dreamer of the family, there is no doubt in his mind that the newcomer will be a dreamer too 'just like me', and that they will stare out of the window together and wonder. Then the baby arrives, and what a surprise for the brothers: she's a girl. 'What will she be like?' they wonder. And the answer? 'Our baby sister is a little like us, but mostly she is ... 'just like herself!'

Good picture books about new babies play an important role. This is an attractive and unusual one. It's a tender and amusing tale, written with subtle simplicity by Christine Kidney, with distinctive and intriguing collage illustrations by Hoda Haddidi, who is probably best known in the UK for A Rainbow in My Pocket. The way it values everyone's different personalities, skills, interests and dreams, while delicately questioning gender stereotypes, makes it particularly special and useful. There are ideas at the end for creating collages and scrapbooks.