The Books

One Potato Review

The seminal book among thousands on the subject of welcoming (or not welcoming) a baby sibling into the world; no one has ever been funnier. What’s poignant is how far the otherwise self-possessed Lilly is ready to descend to get back some attention from her obviously hypnotized parents (baby talk, running away from home), but also the stunts that she choreographs when no one is even even looking. These include a voodoo doll, scrambled renditions of the alphabet song, and a bit of creative non-fiction which you may find yourself quoting in pieces whether the situation really calls for it or not: “Once upon a time there was a baby. His name was Julius. Julius was really a germ. Julius was like dust under your bed. If he was a number, he would be zero. If he was a food, he would be a raisin. Zero is nothing. A raisin tastes like dirt. The End.” There’s some real unsweetened desperation in these pages. Though we have probably come to regard Julius and Lilly and Wemberly and Chester and all of Kevin Henkes’s magnificent mice as culturally and commercially mainstream, the humor in each of these books is smart, effortless, and sufficiently subversive it’s always worth remembering that here is an original: often imitated, rarely matched, still merrily paddling around in a boat of his own invention.

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