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this week's library book

Bye Bye Baby by Janet and Allan Ahlberg tells the story of a little baby with no mommy. "He fed himself and bathed himself. He even changed his own diaper." One day the baby realizes "I am too young to be doing this! I need a mommy!"

He sets off to find a mommy. "Will you be my mommy?" he asks whomever he finds (including a teddy bear, a horse, a kitty cat, a wind up chicken, and a nice old uncle). But none of them can be his mommy.

Finally, he meets a nice lady pushing a baby carriage. "I am a little baby with no mommy" he cries. "There's a coincidence," says the lady. "I am a mommy with no little baby!"  And she takes him home and gives him a warm bath and feeds him cookies and tea.

After a while, the baby realizes he doesn't have a daddy. He sets off once again until he finds a nice farmer and asks if he will be his daddy. And of course he says "Yes!".

Note: I am new to the work of the Ahlbergs, but they have written quite a few lovely little books including The Jolly Postman; Each Peach, Pear, Plum; and The Runaway Dinner .

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Reader Comments (21)

That sounds like a sweet story. My little ones (1 and 4) and I are headed to the library tomorrow. I'm going to pick this one up and see how they like it. Thank you for the snippet.

ooh this one looks awesome. what a fun post. i loved the jolly postman when i was younger. all the letters slide in and out! charming..

04.15.2009 | Unregistered Commentermarta

Each Peach pear plum was my favorite book growings up it is a charming seek and find story and always part of my new baby gifts.

04.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterHilary

I love everything by the Ahlbergs!

04.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

There is something so sweet about the photographs you take of your child's hands reading the book.

04.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

I am not familiar with this author! I'll check our library for some of the other titles...my boys might be too anxiety ridden by this title to hang in there and see that the baby does indeed get a mommy - and a daddy :)

04.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterLecia

We love the Ahlbergs, but I'd never seen this one before. Our favorite is Each Peach, Pear, Plum.

04.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

I love the Jolly Postman books. The Christmas version and the original version are treasures.

04.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

I read one of their books for bigger kids, I forgot what's the title but I think it's something about the teddy bear no one wants. I love it so much...

04.15.2009 | Unregistered Commenteramanda

This seems like a lightly disturbing book, as I find that babies are already attempting to be autonomous enough without encouragement, but I can tell it is really a sweet story. I'll have to find it for my two year-old charge who now thinks he needs no one, to show him even a baby who can change his own diapers needs a mommy and daddy. :)

04.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterRhiannonM

I'll have to check this out. I love the other Ahlberg books I've read.

04.15.2009 | Unregistered Commenterchrissie

I loved Each Peach Pear Plum so much as a child that I memorized the book and "read" it to my preschool class! I could probably still remember most of it... Each peach pear plum, I spy Tom Thumb... Check this one out next!

04.16.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Aaah, Each Peach Pear Plum was my little girls favourite when she was tiny. That book brings back very happy memories

04.16.2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Antidote

The Ahlbergs are great! I memorized Each Peach Pear Plum as a small kid. It was so much fun to point out what was coming on the next page.
Another favorite author and illustrator is Barbara Cooney. She wrote a great book called Miss Rumphius and did the illustrations for one of my favorite childhood books, Roxaboxen. I remember trying to make all kinds of versions of my own Roxaboxen. I recommend her. :)

04.16.2009 | Unregistered CommenterCallen

Aw, this book summary nearly made me cry a little bit. Kind of disturbing to think of a poor little innocent baby with no one to love or take care of him - he even had to change his own diapers?!? What a sad image. I think that recently having a baby has pulverized my heart into mincemeat. But the illustrations sure are lovely...

04.16.2009 | Unregistered CommenterSaraC

I LOVE the Ahlbergs! I grew up with their books. One of my favourites (which you haven't mentioned) is Starting School - fabulous to read with children about to start school for the first time. Their books are so sweet and imaginative and beautifully illustrated, I would highly recommend all of them!

04.17.2009 | Unregistered Commenterdomestikate

oh, and you can't forget "Peepo", I think the best baby book ever! I give it as a gift to all my friends ....

04.17.2009 | Unregistered CommenterCass M

Oh, I love the Jolly Postman books...I had the Christmas one, the pocket one, and original as a kid, and I loved looking at them. Another book I just remembered from my childhood is called The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer. It, as far as I remember, wasn't so much a story based on words, but very much dependent on the illustrations, which were gorgeous. Town Mouse, Country Mouse by Jan Brett was another beautifully illustrated book that I loved. Caps for Sale was another, although the story was a bit more ambling than anything else. The Snowy Day was another great one, perfect for the winter. Mack Made Movies is a book I recently stumbled on when I was looking for books to turn into speech pieces.

Part of me can't wait to have children, just so I can read all of these wonderful, beautiful books to them.

04.18.2009 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Aren't the Ahlbergs so lovely - this was one of our favourites when my Abby was little - their language is sweetly old fashioned and makes for such fun reading aloud. And don't you just love that the hen is a clockwork hen! And that there's a lovely mummy just strolling along - purposefully of course - with a pram. Ahhh! The Ahlberg world is a kind place.

04.21.2009 | Unregistered Commenterlily boot

I agree with the poster above - PEEPO (by the Ahlbergs) is one of the best baby board books ever written! Both of my children have loved it. It was the first book that captured their attention and interest, even though it has no pop-ups, squeakers, mirrors, or textured bits like so many of the other books geared to infants. One of my daughter's first words was "peepo!" and it taught her to play peek-a-boo. She just loves finding the baby in each of the illustrations.

Another great one is THE BABY CATALOGUE. It contains illustrations of all sorts of babies and the things they use in their daily lives like strollers, clothes, stuffed toys, food, etc. But it's a bit irreverent (and fun for parents!) ... my son was obsessed with the drawing of a baby leaning over a toilet bowl and falling in! We had to explain that one many times.

I think each of these books was published in Britain in the 1980s. We got our copies (large hardcovers, not board books) from the library sale after they were withdrawn from circulation.

04.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterZoe

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