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Ma! There's Nothing to Do Here!: A Word from your Baby-in-Waiting    by Barbara Park & Viviana Garofoli order for
Ma! There's Nothing to Do Here!
by Barbara Park
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Ma! There's Nothing to Do Here!: A Word from your Baby-in-Waiting is an extraordinary picture book that will be appreciated by parents-to-be; by siblings anxiously awaiting their new brother or sister; and by anyone who remembers the long lull before the happy storm heralded by the birth of a new family member.

Barbara Park's hilarious text is ably abbetted by Viviana Garofoli's vivid drawings that center on the mother's womb and the lively fetus that's at home - and very bored - in there. It's hard not to empathize with the bald, big-headed infant who opens the book wittily with: 'Dear Ma, / What's a baby to do in a womb with no view?'

The infant continues with a long list of what's not to see or do while still inside - 'My choices are slim. / There is no room to swim. / I'm so tired of floating. / I'd love to go boating' - to the regular refrain, 'MA! / There's nothing to do!' I especially like the circular rhyme that accompanies the babe shown curled up tightly in fetal position.

The little one continues more positively about what does occupy him or her in there - 'I try to stay busy. / I slosh till I'm dizzy. / I practice my kicking. / And hiccup-cup-hicking' - and goes on to describe what it would be nice to have (from a truck to a balloon) in there, and what needs to be made ready (like night-light and crib) for Show Time!

What a wonderful picture book! If you know anyone expecting a new baby, Ma! There's Nothing to Do Here!: A Word from your Baby-in-Waiting makes the perfect gift. And children will enjoy it too ... though it might make them ask for a new sibling in the family!

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