Review of You Are New

You Are New
by Lucy Knisley; illus. by the author
Preschool    Chronicle    48 pp.
3/19    978-1-4521-6156-3    $17.99

Knisley chronicled her wedding in her 2016 adult graphic-novel memoir Something New; her latest, Kid Gloves (2019), is about pregnancy; and concurrently she has authored her first picture book — about a newborn baby. In lilting, lighthearted rhyme, the direct-address text describes the things a new baby can do: “You can doze and nap and snooze. / It makes you sleepy, being new…You can open wide and yell. / Sometimes you make funny smells.” The block-letter font, with occasional words in different colors for emphasis or humor, is easy on the eyes — a plus for tired parents. Spare and colorful digital collage illustrations, with well-placed shadows for dimension, show cute blob-shaped babies with a variety of skin tones against clean white backgrounds, their actions and emotions easy to read as they grow and learn throughout toddlerhood, big-sibling-dom, new-school-age, and more. Their accomplishments may be small-seeming, but they’re monumental for young ones (and their grownups) and reassuringly portrayed for all: “You might not know just what to do… / That’s okay when you are new.”

From the May/June 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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