Book Review: Baby, Come Out!

Cover of the book Baby, Come Out. A mother is shown with a baby girl in her tummy and her older daughter standing next to her smiling. In a second scene the older daughter is screaming at the baby and the baby is jumping back in surprise.

Baby, Come Out! written by Fran Manushkin with illustrations by Ron Himler is the "worst picture book of the year" according to School Library Journal.

The year was 1972 and that accolade comes to us from the author’s own website. It was her first of 29 children’s books. She can be so bold because 30 years later Baby, Come Out! is still going strong, now available in eight languages. My daughter checked out a copy from her preschool library.

The story begins with a mother going about an idyllic daily routine as she talks to her unborn baby. What’s different is that we see the baby inside and she talks back.

"I don’t want to be born. I am staying right here," the baby declares.

Uh oh. The mother’s family, one-by-one, tries to coax and cajole the baby to come out. The daughter yells, "COME OUT!" The brother says, "Come out, and I’ll give you a nickel!" The grandparents even try. Each time, the baby has various reasons why she’s not going anywhere.

An image of three panels from the story. A grandfather is seen walking, then standing and talking to an unborn baby inside his grown daughter's tummy and then jumping back as his unborn granddaughter tries to run away while inside the tummy.

First panel: Mrs. Tracy’s father came over. He put his head against his daughter’s stomach.

Second panel: "I’m your grandfather."
"Yes," said the Baby.

"If you come out, I’ll take you for a ride in my car."

Third panel: "Waaaaa," cried Baby. "I like riding in Mama and I won’t come out."

Finally, the father comes home. One-by-one the dad kisses his family members, and then kisses his wife’s tummy.

"Hey, what is going on?"

"I’m kissing my family. And here’s one for you."

"I don’t feel anything."

"No, not yet. But you will, when you come out."

"HERE I COME!"

The baby raises her arms and legs and smiles, like she’s going to fall through a laundry chute.

A doctor rushes to the house, and in the next scene the baby is out and being embraced, and then kissed by each family member.

The story continues for a few more pages, fast-forwarding through scenes of family harmony and ends with the baby-turned-toddler getting a kiss from her mom.

It’s a perfect story for an older child awaiting the birth of a sibling. It helps the child visualize the baby inside her mother, and as my wife says, anyone who’s been pregnant knows babies respond to sound.

What dad doesn’t appreciate a father getting the elusive limelight in a children’s story? And Baby, Come Out! would make a timely gift for any mother who is going past her due date. It’s a sweet book.

Our 1984 library copy has black and white illustrations, but the latest edition is in color. Find it at Amazon.

Comments

8 Responses to “Book Review: Baby, Come Out!”

  1. Ticia says:

    I might have to buy that for a friend who’s baby is overdue…. Provided I can find it.

    September 16th, 2008 at 6:30 am

  2. AJ says:

    Ticia, you can buy a new copy from Amazon at the link at the end of the article.

    You can buy a used copy from independent book stores around the world at AbeBooks.
    http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&tn=baby%2C+come+out&x=0&y=0

    September 16th, 2008 at 7:40 am

  3. Call Me Kelly says:

    Too cute! I love the illustrations and the premise.

    September 16th, 2008 at 4:34 pm

  4. Sunnyday says:

    Sounds like a book worth promoting :-)

    I wonder why it was adjudged “worst picture book of the year” back then by that School Library Journal. Probably those who thought so didn’t like babies or thought parenthood a drag!

    I hope there are copies in my country. I’ll probably check out the bookstores here…

    Thanks for posting this :-)

    September 16th, 2008 at 10:21 pm

  5. anjii says:

    This seems like an ADORABLE book! I can’t believe it won worst book!? I love the idea that what finally got her out was wanting to be part of the family and get a kiss from Daddy… so sweet :D

    September 17th, 2008 at 8:52 am

  6. anjii says:

    This seems like an ADORABLE book! I can’t believe it won worst book!? I love the idea that what finally got her out was wanting to be part of the family and get a kiss from Daddy… so sweet :D

    September 17th, 2008 at 9:19 am

  7. Fran Manushkin says:

    Thanks so much for your kind words about my book. The woman who chose my book as the “worst” wasn’t comfortable with showing a baby prenatally. She told me so, when I sat next to her on a train years later! The book is in pring and available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and is published by Star Bright books. I have a new book coming out next spring– THE TUSHY BOOK! I can’t wait to see the reviews of that one! Fran

    September 29th, 2008 at 7:10 pm

  8. Susan Jacobs says:

    I as so thrilled fo find this book online. I am 35 yrs old and expecting. My mom had a copy of this book when I was a little girl, she would read to baby and us so many times when she was expecting our two youngest siblings. Just yesterday she (mom) asked if I remembered the baby book, I was so tickled. Unfortunately she gave it away, I couldn’t remember the title, but when I struck gold on google this morning I was elated. Will order it for my baby, even if its a boy we are having. Wonder if a boy version is available???

    January 21st, 2010 at 8:25 am

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