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ON BABA'S BACK by Marianne Dubuc Kirkus Star


by Marianne Dubuc ; illustrated by Marianne Dubuc

Pub Date: Jan. 11th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-61689-912-7
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press

Koalas Koko and Baba are always together until one day Koko ventures off alone.

Much like their human child-caregiver counterparts, little Koko is always with Baba. Koko does everything—playing, bathing, even (“Oops!”) peeing—on Baba’s back, until one day, curiously eyeing some butterflies, Koko jumps off and adventures solo. Dubuc is careful to convey that the exploration is successful and also that Koko climbs right back on Baba’s back when bedtime comes. This boomerang of child independence and caregiver dependence is simply and sweetly done. Koko’s moment of joy at the freedom to explore is captured with rosy cheeks and open arms, Baba’s pride drawn to match. Caregivers will smile at all of Koko’s childlike characteristics, from the “play” that results in a ball bouncing off Baba’s head to Koko’s repeatedly nagging “There!” at the sight of the butterflies. The repetitive nature of the sentence structure makes it a perfect fit for lap reading with an infant or toddler. There are no gendered pronouns for either character. The pencil-and-watercolor illustrations give the koalas and their habitat a soft, inviting look—a fitting complement to the story. This sweet board book is sure to provide readers and little listeners with two separate yet connected takeaways.

Charming illustrations with a simple story that resonates.

(Board book. 1-3)