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Cover image for Busy babies
Busy babies
First edition.
New York : Beach Lane Books, [2019]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 30 cm
Illustrations and simple, rhyming text celebrate babies as they play, make trouble, think, and nap.


Call Number
JP Schwartz

On Order



An exuberant celebration of busy babies on the move!

Busy babies have so much to do, from blowing bubbles to making trouble, whether they are in buggies or in snugglies! Join a rambunctious group of little ones as they go about the day, doing all of the wonderful things babies do. This adorable picture book features bouncy, rhyming text that makes it the perfect read-aloud to share with the busy baby in your life.

Author Notes

Amy Schwartz has written and illustrated many classic books for children, including Bea and Mr. Jones , a Reading Rainbow featured tit≤ What James Likes Best , winner of the Charlotte Zolotow Award; A Teeny Tiny Baby ; Tiny & Hercules ; Starring Miss Darlene ; A Beautiful Girl ; and I Can't Wait . She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, children's book historian Leonard S. Marcus, and their son, Jacob.

Reviews 6

School Library Journal Review

Baby-Toddler-In rhyming text, Schwartz presents a plethora of babies and the activities that keep them busy all day. From "Visiting ducks/Playing trucks" and "Clapping chubby hands/Banging pots and pans" to "Blowing bubbles/Making trouble," the cartoon-style babies are depicted in many shades of skin colors and hair variations. Whether accompanied by an adult or alone, busy babies have much to do. In fact, there are so many everyday activities portrayed that readers are bound to identify with at least a few. The deceptively simple pictures rendered in pen and ink and colored in gouache, range from multiple small vignettes on a page to full-page illustrations, all against a white background. Some babies are "With their mamas/In pajamas;" others are "Into something/Wearing nothing." Yet others are "Saying `Hi!'/Waving `Bye!'" They are even "Riding busses/Making fusses." But always the illustrations are upbeat and the palette cheery, making these very mundane activities feel unique indeed. VERDICT Best appreciated one-on-one, this title offers many moments that toddlers and their adults will enjoy and want to pore over. -Lucia Acosta, Children's Literature Specialist, Princeton, NJ © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Babies and their guardians appear in eventful scenes illustrated in gouache and pen and ink, with detailed patterns and splashy colors. Schwartz depicts single or multiple scenarios per page. A child in a highchair is seen "eating peas"; another baby is supine on a pink blanket, "rattling keys"; and a third is "clapping chubby hands." A baby sits in a shopping cart chock full of groceries "at the store," a child in a green hoodie appears with an elderly guardian "at the seashore," and another child makes a funny face. Several dominate their own spreads, including a busy toddler "opening kitchen cabinets" and another exploring the sculptures on display in a gallery ("going places"). Schwartz delicately captures the wonder of new experience in her spry, friendly artwork. Ages 4-8. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Schwartz leaves no rattle unshaken in her book-length review of typical baby activities: "Clapping chubby hands / Banging pots and pans / In onesies in their cribs / Busy babies / Wearing bibs." A couple of the rhymes almost lose the beat, but supplying snap are the dainty gouache and pen-and-ink action shots capturing each individual baby's sweet moves. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

A brisk, rhyming text describes the actions of infants and toddling 1- and 2-year-olds, shown in daily activities with their parents, grandparents, and caregivers.Clean, white backgrounds and a tall, vertically oriented trim accommodate some pages with two to four spot illustrations and a few with full-page views of the entrancing tykes in action. The children and adults include people of different ethnicities and several grandparents or caregivers with gray hair as well as dads and grandpas taking an active role with their little ones. Some children are still babes in arms or just sitting up, but most are walking (or running!) on their own and beginning to exert their independence. All sorts of activities are portrayed: eating and napping, visiting parks and an art museum, and typical toddler mischief such as emptying a wastebasket. The brief text repeats the titular phrase, followed by action phrases describing each activity, with a loose, pleasant rhyme scheme. The tiny tykes themselves have slightly oversized, round heads with teeny dots for eyes, and their adorable outfits include bright colors and patterns as well as one little one in a purple velveteen dress. The final page shows a toddler with a tricycle (but no helmet) and the concluding phrase, "Busy babies / Just like you!" Any child 2 or older will not want to be called a baby (though older siblings might be happy to), but that's a small quibble in an otherwise captivating story.A charming look at the lives of little ones, all fortunate to be cherished and cared for by loving adults. (Picture book. 2-5) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

What do babies do all day? Schwartz sums it up nicely in sequences of brief rhymed couplets that capture a wide range of activities and emotions. Busy babies / In baby swings / Stacking rings / Holding cups / Sitting up / Riding busses / Making fusses / Building blocks / Removing socks. The text flows beautifully, but much of enjoyment comes from the line-and-watercolor artwork that accompanies each phrase. The combination is irresistible for babies and toddlers, who will be absorbed by the images of recognizable activities appearing on the page, or for adult readers, amused by some of the familiar situations depicted, such as a baby, suddenly too warm in a snowsuit, wailing on a crowded bus, or a toddler in a stroller, delighted with pulling off both socks. Precise black-ink drawings define the people and their surroundings, while the washes of rich colors that fill out the scenes look brilliant against the surrounding white space. Best enjoyed one-on-one, this picture book offers a wonderful focal point for conversations with young children.--Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2019 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

These books give babies a generous helping of their erv favorite subiect: themselves. BUSY BABIES Written and illustrated by Amy Schwartz Building blocks, removing socks, with their mamas, in pajamas - almost anything you can picture a baby or toddler getting up to makes an appearance in this casually rhyming book. The result is a clever catalog of baby life, featuring a pleasing array of families of all backgrounds. Schwartz ("A Teeny Tiny Baby") gives babies lots to stare at, and grown-ups may find themselves just as delighted by her exquisite illustrations. Her delectable babies have big heads, small features and even smaller feet and hands, and they wear outfits of detailed perfection. 32 pp. Beach Lane. $17.99. (Picture book; ages Oto 3) ? IS FOR BABY ByAtinuke. Illustrated by Angela Brooksbank. Who needs the whole alphabet when one letter can tell a story as entertaining as this one, set in a colorful, lively West African village? "B is for baby," of course, but each page adds a "B" word as the baby girls brother rides his bicycle to visit their Baba - grandpa - in his bungalow. Turns out the tyke has stowed away in a basket of bananas, making for a funny, happy reunion. Atinuke and Brooksbank ("Baby Goes to Market") have created an appealing package of rhythmic repetition and vibrant images. 40 pp. Candlewick. $16.99. (Ages 0 to 5) YOU ARE NEW Written and illustrated by Lucy Knisley "When you're new," asks this delightfully assured debut children's book from the acclaimed graphic novelist Knisley, "what can you do?" The comforting answers explain a baby's world to her ("You can fit in tiny spots / You get carried quite a lot") while also preparing her for adventures and challenges ahead ("You might not know just want to do ... / That's O.K. when you are new"). But it's the memorable digital art that makes this book a true standout - the sweet-looking babies who crawl and traipse through these pages have a refreshing hint of comics-style edge. 42 pp. Chronicle. $17.99. (Ages 0 to 3) ANIMAL BABIES LIKE TO PLAY By Jennifer Adams. Illustrated by Mary Lundquist. The animal babies in this adorably drawn alphabet book include a bunny, a jaguar and a quail. They play with jacks and go fishing. They build with blocks and bake pie. Its simpler than it sounds - they are all babies, wearing zip-up animal suits. As Lundquist ("Cat & Bunny") works through the letters, she also delivers a low-key message that playing is fun by yourself, and also with friends. Eagle-eyed babies might even spot Zebra hiding in the background of other letters' pages. 32 pp. Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins. $17.99. (Ages 0 to 5) BABY DAY By Jane Godwin and Davina Bell. Illustrated by Freya Blackwood. Birthdays come once a year, but the excitement around them lasts ... possibly forever? Accordingly, this clever book about a first birthday party can be enjoyed any old day. Adorable babies tumble, squawk and dribble their way to the festivities. Cake time comes, the crowd begins to melt down, and the birthday kid is on to a bath, story and bedtime. Blackwood's loose pencil lines and brushy bright colors lend a lovely naturalistic look. 32 pp. Atheneum. $17.99. (Ages 0 to 3) UP UP UP DOWN Written and illustrated by Kimberly Gee Opposites loom large for babies, and Gee brings the concept to adorable life. Her action-packed visual vignettes refreshingly feature a brown-skinned baby and caretaker dad who dramatize the obvious ("no" and "yes") and the more subtle ("yay" and "uh oh"). Her touch is feather-light, with many telling details to spot. 32 pp. Putnam. $16.99. (Ages 0 to 4) HOORAY FOR BABIES! By Susan Meyers. Illustrated by Sue Cornelison. The pages of this celebration of baby life teem with tiny friends of every stripe, doing baby stuff together. With the little ones collectively narrating ("We raise our sippy cups up high and give a baby cheer") and practically no grown-ups in sight, Meyers ("Everywhere Babies") and Cornelison ("Lost and Found Cat") have created a buoyant mood of baby-centric fun. 32 pp. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. $14.99. (Ages 0 to 3) READ TO YOUR BABY EVERY DAY Edited by Rachel Williams. Illustrated by Chloe Giordano. This treasury of 30 classic nursery rhymes runs through the standards - Old Mother Hubbard, Humpty Dumpty - including many you'll be tempted to sing, like "The Muffin Man." Williams keeps old-fashioned words ("I saw a ship a-sailing") but pares down some longer verses to just one stanza, to fit a baby's attention span. Best of all are Giordano's illustrations, done in heart-stoppingly delicate embroidery. 32 pp. Frances Lincoln. $16.99. (Ages 0 to 4) MARIA RUSSO is the children's books editor of the Book Review.