King Baby

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
King Baby Book Poster Image
Babies rule in this hilarious take on their development.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Implicit information on babies and their development: They learn to talk and crawl and grow up to walk, run, play in the playground, and ride tricycles. Shows how babies communicate.

Positive Messages

Babies are demanding, but they're also learning, growing, and developing. Loving families pay attention to babies' needs. If it's challenging to communicate, babies will find other ways to get what they need.

Positive Role Models & Representations

King Baby asks for what he wants and needs and finds ways to communicate. When he doesn't get what he wants, he figures out alternative ways and thereby develops new skills. Parents and other family members and friends love babies and are attentive to their needs.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that King Baby by Kate Beaton (The Princess and the Pony) is a hilarious but affectionate take on babies and their rule over tired, doting parents, and it's good fun for kids and adults alike. What King Baby demands, King Baby gets, at least most of the time, and when he doesn't, he's spurred to develop better communication skills and even the large motor skills that lead to mobility. The story provides an excellent opportunity for kids to think back on and be proud of all they've learned, and it also works beautifully as a new-sibling book, since -- spoiler alert -- just when King Baby's ready to give up his crown, there's a new royal in the family: Queen Baby!

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What's the story?

KING BABY arrives as a swaddled little blob, but already he rules. His subjects -- friends, extended family -- line up to pay homage to him in his beribboned crib, and he rewards them with smiles, laughs, gurgles, and coos. But kings also have demands, and this one needs to be fed, changed, and bounced. His tired parents comply, though when he demands "ehh bpp" -- translation: "Bring me the thing" -- they give him the wrong toy, so King Baby rolls off his blanket and struggles to learn to crawl. Soon, "King Baby will walk. And talk. And MORE!" and we see him grow up before our eyes, toddling, walking, running, playing in the playground, and riding a wheel toy. Just when he wonders how his poor subjects will do when they no longer have a king, they tell him they've got news, and -- spoiler alert -- Queen Baby arrives.

Is it any good?

Babies reign in this hilarious, perceptive, and affectionate take on a new baby and his smart but sometimes tyrannical strategies to communicate his demands and thereby grow and develop. When King Baby needs to be fed, burped, and changed, his attentive parents hop to. But then he wants "the thing," and he reaches and points, his tired, baffled parents bring him THE WRONG THING! So he decides "King Baby will get the thing HIMSELF!" -- just the motivation he needs to learn to crawl.

Parents will recognize themselves in these loving but sometimes exhausted parents, and kids will have fun thinking back proudly on all they learned when they were babies and toddlers. The story is narrated by King Baby himself, with just the right amount of developmentally appropriate self-absorption -- "These subjects are fools!" -- and loads of humor.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how a baby affects the family in King Baby. How do babies let parents know what they want and need if they can't talk? 

  • Why is King Baby motivated to learn to crawl? Do you remember trying to learn new things? Why did you need to learn them?

  • Follow the page that show's King Baby's growth from baby to toddler. What's he learning at each stop on the path?

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