In Baby Parade, cheerful text encourages readers (or listeners) to interact with rosy-cheeked babies of various ethnicities as they stroll, crawl, and finally walk by, perhaps on their way to a storytime. They can wave to babies in yellow backpacks, blue blankets, and (wearing) purple sneakers. The simple lines not only engage attention, but subtly introduce concepts like color and texture.
The text and illustrations work particularly well together. When O’Connell points to something, Susie Poole’s illustrations not only show it but relate it to a whole scene. Even the parents’ mix-match of clothing feels casually realistic. Parents and caregivers can smile in recognition at the moments or touches that could only come from a baby’s antics. (I’m fond of the baby standing precariously close to a cupcake, because you just know what could happen.) Babies and toddlers can smile at the other babies as they explore and get to know each other, and maybe even grin or clap as they hear an exuberant “Walking!” as the parade comes around. And you might find yourself smiling back.
Along with The Baby Goes Beep, Baby Parade is sure to be a hit with curious babies at storytime.