Jamie Lee Curtis has had many firsts: her first (and only) marriage to Christopher Guest, her first time holding her children, Annie and Tom, her first time pretending to be a customer in an episode of Quincy, and her first time she wrote words that became her first book. She lives in Los Angeles, the first city she ever lived in, and is always first in line, first to arrive, first to leave, and first to sleep. Laura Cornell lives in New York City with her daughter, Lily (first and only), but they spend much time in California, Laura's first state in her first home. She was asked to illustrate Jamie's first book, and that became ten. Lucky is the first word that comes to mind.
Actress Curtis's return engagement amply confirms the promise shown in her debut picture book (When I Was Little). A sweet and sunny look at adoption, the story is framed as a much-loved and clearly much-requested family tale, and rings true from beginning to end. Combining wit ("Tell me again how you carried me like a china doll all the way home and how you glared at anyone who sneezed") with candor ("Tell me again how you couldn't grow a baby in your tummy, so another woman who was too young to take care of me was growing me"), Curtis deftly addresses the logistics of adoption in a matter-of-fact manner that radiates love and reassurance. Cornell, who also illustrated Curtis's previous books, again serves up whimsical, Roz Chast-like watercolors crammed with amusing visual asides: a jar of diaper cream sports the label "Tub o' Lard"; a tiny bandage on a newborn's tummy carries the notice "future bellybutton"; a little girl and her dog, tucked cozily into bed, wear matching curlers (the girl's in her hair; the pup's on his ears). It's hard to imagine a warmer celebration of the special joys of an adopted family. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
PreS-Gr 2‘While Curtis's fame as an actor may get this adoption story special attention, it deserves recognition in its own right. If the title suggests a blow-by-blow description of the birth process, readers are quickly set straight; the news arrives by telephone. The narrator's adoptive parents rush to the hospital via plane, and any questions about the identity of the birth mother are brushed aside; she is simply "too young" to take care of her child. The new parents see their daughter in the nursery, howling wide-mouthed and oblivious to their pleased and loving gazes. Both participate equally in this tale; the first night home with the baby, the father tells her about baseball, holding her and a bat cradled in his arms. The humor implicit in the text is made explicit in the illustrations: watery, cartoonstyle watercolors with fine-pen accents to show outlines and facial features. This book exudes action and light; nothing here will lull children to sleep, except the warmth of feeling and comfort. It does not delve into the complexity of adoptive dynamics, but simply affirms family love, the pleasure parents feel about new babies, and how pleased children are to hear the story of their birth.‘Ruth K. MacDonald, Bay Path College, Longmeadow, MA