This Is Our Baby, Born Today, by Varsha Bajaj; illustrated by Eliza Wheeler; Nancy Paulsen Books, $16.99, 32 pages, ages 1-4.
What do you get for the newborns who, unbeknownst to them, have everything awaiting their arrival? Rather than saddle expectant parents with another swaddling blanket or fancy doodad, consider a charming picture book like This Is Our Baby, Born Today. Varsha Bajaj’s poetic ode to new beginnings chronicles the arrival of a baby elephant while celebrating the joy of life and the importance of family and friends. This pint-sized pachyderm is cuddled and caressed by its doting mama and a menagerie of exotic visitors. (The baby’s gender isn’t offered, and it doesn’t matter whether we’re reading about a boy or a girl, the point is the same–babies are gifts, to be treasured and nurtured and loved.) Older readers may recognize Bajaj’s name; her debut effort was the critically-acclaimed middle-grade novel Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood. Lush, full watercolors by New York Times bestselling illustrator Eliza Wheeler bathe the characters in a warm jungle glow, no doubt infused with the love that surrounds and embraces this happy elephant family.
(images copyright 2016 Eliza Wheeler, text copyright 2016 Varsha Bajaj. Reproduced with permission from Nancy Paulsen Books.)