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Review of Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals

Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals
by Mo Willems; illus. by the author
Preschool    Hyperion    32 pp.
5/17    978-1-4847-6746-7    $15.99

An offstage narrator addresses listeners using the language of the hospitality industry: “THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. / Your arrival has been anxiously awaited…PLEASE / ENJOY YOUR STAY.” Our world is presented as a cruise ship–like dwelling place: “Many activities are available for you to enjoy, including, but not limited to: / SLEEPING and WAKING, / EATING and BURPING, / POOPING and MORE POOPING.” Most of the illustrations look like road signs, and because this is a Mo Willems book, the whole thing is brilliantly executed and hilarious. It’s also best suited for adults. Even precocious children will be nonplussed by features such as “YOUR LOG-IN CODE” with the corresponding illustration showing rows of white cubes in which to print one’s username, “submit log-in-code,” and, of course, “resubmit log-in code.” (“Do not worry. You do not need to know any LOG-IN codes, yet. Lucky you.”) The “…while we read this book together” refrain is comforting, but a real baby, like the one to whom the narrator is speaking, will be most engaged by the dichromatic graphics and the front-and-back-of-book mirrors (“OUR RESEARCH / INDICATES / This is / YOU”).

From the September/October 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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About Nell Beram

Nell Beram is coauthor of the young adult biography Yoko Ono: Collector of Skies (Amulet/Abrams), which made the 2014 Amelia Bloomer Project list and YALSA’s 2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound list.

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