Oh, Oh, Baby Boy!

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Oh, Oh, Baby Boy! Book Poster Image
Baby grows to man and dad in joyous cycle of life.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Shows the life cycle of growing from baby to grown man. One spread shows the top of a baby's head coming out of his mother into waiting hands in a stylized way that's discreet and artistic but could shock some adult readers who might not want to get into how babies are born with their little ones.

Positive Messages

Shows that dads can be as sensitive, caring, and involved in child rearing as moms. Shows how fun it is to be a boy, and that being kind to others is a sign of strength.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The baby boy's father is an involved parent shown caring for his son, giving him his bath, cooking with him. And when "Baby Boy" grows up to be a dad, he cares for his newborn. The father who begins the story is shown as an involved grandparent at the end. All these images add up to a very positive male role model. In one scene, the young son helps an older person off the bus, and the text defines him as "strong and kind Baby Boy" -- a different image of male strength than is often presented.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Oh, Oh, Baby Boy celebrates the cycle of life in which a baby boy grows up to be a man and the father of his own "Baby Boy" in this wonderful picture book by debut author-illustrator Janine Macbeth. It's great to see a dad doing the tasks that moms are often pictured doing: caring for the newborn, giving the toddler a bath, and teaching the boy to cook, helping the grown young man care for his own newborn son. The text is simple enough to be a bedtime read for a 2-year-old, but would also make a great gift for a new father or a stay-at-home dad.

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What's the story?

A newborn baby boy appears on the first page and continues to grow throughout the following pages, from boyhood to adulthood, until he is a father of his own "Baby Boy."

Is it any good?

This stunningly beautiful book celebrates being a dad, being a boy, and the evolution of family life, where dads are now more involved than ever in the care, feeding, and cuddling of little ones. This joyous view of a happy mixed-race family in a happy mixed-race world is both inspiring and reflective of many of our families and communities. Macbeth's evocative gouache paintings on grocery bags, with their bold black lines and emotive faces, help build the story.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Familes can talk about fatherhood. What do you think makes a good dad?

  • What's special about being a boy?

  • How are the moms and dads different or the same in your family?

Book details

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