Baby

Author MacLachlan, Patricia
Language English
Publisher
New York N.Y.: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1995




Annotation:

Professional Media Service Corp.



Subjects :

  • Babies
  • Fiction
  • Islands
  • Grief
  • Infants

Back to Top

Author Illustrator(s) :

Back to Top

Best Books :

  • A Few Good Books, 1993 Book Links
  • Recommended Literature: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, 2002 California Department of Education
  • Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for PreK-Grade 6, 1997 National Council of Teachers of English
  • Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001 H.W. Wilson
  • Children's Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 H.W. Wilson
  • Kirkus Book Review Stars, 1993
  • Lasting Connections, 1993 American Library Association
  • Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts, 1994 NCTE Children's Literature Assembly
  • Notable Children's Books, 1994 Association for Library Service to Children
  • Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, August 1993 Cahners
  • School Library Journal: Best Books for Young Adults, 1993 Cahners
  • Teachers' Choices, 1994 International Reading Association
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 1994 American Library Association

Back to Top

Awards, Honors & Prizes :

  • South Carolina Junior Book Award, 1996 Winner South Carolina
  • ABC Children's Booksellers Choices Award, 1994 Winner United States

Back to Top

State & Provincial Reading List :

  • Golden Sower Award, 1997; Nominee Nebraska
  • Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award, 1996; Nominee Illinois
  • South Carolina Junior Book Award, 1996; Nominee South Carolina

Back to Top

Curriculum Tools :

Back to Top

Reading Measurement Programs:


0440411459, 9780440411451
Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers (New York N.Y.:) 1995.

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.

Lexile Measure 670
Accelerated Reader Points

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 3-5
Reading Level 5
Accelerated Reader Points 4


9780385311335, 0385311338
Delacorte Press (New York:) 1993.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 4
Accelerated Reader Points 2

Back to Top

Reviews :

Susie Wilde (Children's Literature)
The family cannot talk about how the baby in their family has died. One day a stranger leaves a baby named Sophie with them and promises to come back. They all love Sophie and while she grows up with them, they begin to talk about the baby they lost. A year of bittersweet healing follows where, as Sophie grows in babyhood, the family grows in understanding and communicating. All the characters are interesting, and the story is sad and happy at the same time. 1993, Delacorte, $15.95 and $3.99. Ages 11 up.
(PUBLISHER: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers (New York N.Y.:), PUBLISHED: 1995 c1993.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
PW described this story of a family that takes in an abandoned baby as ``lean and lyrical,'' adding that the Newbery Medalist ``gracefully entwines past and present.'' All ages. (Sept.)
(PUBLISHER: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers (New York N.Y.:), PUBLISHED: 1995 c1993.)

Carolyn R. Angus (Audiofile, June 1994)
Actress Blythe Danner is the ideal reader for this short novel about a baby abandoned on the doorstep of a family's home on a Northeast coastal island. The poignant message of the power of words--the hurt of words not spoken and the comfort of words shared in love--is transmitted in Danner's sensitive reading of MacLachlan's lyrical writing. Soft music and the sounds of the ocean, shorebirds and a ferryboat's whistle are effectively used in setting the scene and for smoothing the transitions in MacLachlan's stylistically fragmented text. Although Baby was published as a children's book, this audiobook makes provocative listening for adults, too. C.R.A. Winner of AUDIOFILE Earphones Award (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine Unabridged. 1993, Random House Audio, Two cassettes, 2.25 hrs., Retail, $15.99.
(PUBLISHER: BDD Audio (New York NY:), PUBLISHED: p1993.)

Sheila H. Williams (KLIATT Review, March 1994 (Vol. 28, No. 2))
This is a multi-audiobook review. Two tales of child abandonment told from differing points of view. Eleven-year-old Journey and his older sister Cat are left with their grandparents. Journey is unwilling to believe it is a permanent arrangement. Unable to understand his mama's leaving, he searches through damaged photographs left by her to see if he can piece together his past in order to decipher the present situation. The "baby" (Baby) was left in a basket with a note: "This is Sophie. She is almost a year old and she is good. I love her. I will come back for her one day." Twelve-year-old Larkin and her friend Lalo find Sophie and bring her home to a family that has all too recently suffered the loss of their own baby. Though determined not to love a child they know will leave, Larkin's family resolves that love and loss are inevitable elements in life. MacLachlan's portrayals of vulnerable families and mothers overwhelmed by life's responsibilities are universal expressions of loss. She is an excellent storyteller. Both recordings, although not fully voiced, are clear and sensitive. The listener is allowed into an intimate situation. Haas' voice has not completely changed. His reading is not dramatic or emotional yet lends credibility through its young teen quality. Danner's softspoken rendering of Baby draws the listener right into the family and its dilemmas. Music and sound effects round out the recording, especially in the case of Baby; set on an island off-season, the isolating sounds of waves and seagulls add depth. Both recordings are recommended for general public library collections. The lovely cardboard packaging will unfortunately need reinforcement. Category: Fiction Audiobooks. KLIATT Codes: JSA--Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1993, Bantam Audio, 2 tapes, 2.25 hrs.; 18cm. Pkg: flimsy cardboard; plot, reader notes., $15.99. Ages 12 to adult.
(PUBLISHER: BDD Audio (New York NY:), PUBLISHED: p1993.)

Hazel Rochman (Booklist, Sept. 1, 1993 (Vol. 90, No. 1))
Twelve-year-old Larkin and her family find a baby sitting in a basket, abandoned at their door. A note (as beautiful as the letter in MacLachlan's Sarah, Plain and Tall, 1985) says simply: "This is Sophie. She is almost a year old and she is good. . . . I will come back for her one day. I love her." Larkin and her mother, father, and grandmother care for the baby. They always know that Sophie will leave one day, but they can't stop themselves from loving her. As the seasons change over a year in their island community, the baby releases the unspoken sadness that has been keeping Larkin's family apart: a baby boy born six months before had lived only one day, and no one can talk about it. At first the plot seems contrived, Larkin's narrative voice self-conscious, the characters idealized, and the healing almost co-dependency therapy. No one has a mean thought, ever. But the spare lyricism of MacLachlan's writing and the physical immediacy of daily life with this very real baby will move the most hardened cynic, especially when Sophie begins to talk sentences. Her words are as absurd and loving as those of the island people, as elemental as the wind and rock. Sophie's mother finally comes back for the baby, and she's told: "Everyone here has rocked her and read to her and wiped her tears and sung to her. Lalo taught her how to blow a kiss, and sometimes she slept with Larkin. She painted with Lily, and she danced with John." The story is also about the silence between words, and in the parting scene, when Papa "stared at Sophie as if he were trying to memorize her," MacLachlan makes love and grief one circle. Category: Older Readers. 1993, Delacorte, $13.95. Gr. 5-10.
(PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1993.)

Susie Wilde (Children's Literature)
The family cannot talk about how the baby in their family has died. One day a stranger leaves a baby named Sophie with them and promises to come back. They all love Sophie and while she grows up with them, they begin to talk about the baby they lost. A year of bittersweet healing follows where, as Sophie grows in babyhood, the family grows in understanding and communicating. All the characters are interesting, and the story is sad and happy at the same time. 1993, Delacorte, $15.95 and $3.99. Ages 11 up.
(PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1993.)

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1993)
In a spare novel with the resonance of myth, two troubled families are healed when their paths conjoin. Some years ago on a remote island resembling Nantucket, Larkin's parents are silently mourning the death of a baby they never named and never described to his sister. The day the summer people leave, they find year-old Sophie on their doorstep with a note: "I will lose her forever if you don't do this, so pleese keep her. I will come back for her one day..." Papa wants to tell the police, but--after impassioned discussion--Mama dissuades him. Sophie stays until spring; and though Papa warns "Don't love her," once they've cared for her, and shared her first words, the parting is hard indeed. Yet while Larkin fears this new bereavement--especially for Mama--love ("That word with a life of its own...flying above all of us like the birds") opens the door to sharing their grief about their own baby. Once Sophie is gone, their feelings find words--and also lead to the dead baby's being given a name. At the story's beginning, Larkin's parents have abandoned her emotionally (an intriguing contrast to Journey); but Sophie's subsequent memories of her sojourn--in lyrical vignettes plus a poignant last scene of her return visit ten years later--are not of separation but of love: faces, gestures, images. Some circumstances (not least Sophie's being left with strangers so that her mother can care for a desperately ill husband) border on fantasy, yet the almost surreal events convey emotional truths with a power that surpasses literal realism. A searching, beautifully written story. 1993, Delacorte, $13.95. Starred Review. © 1993 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
(PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1993.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
After bidding good-bye to the last of the ``summer people,'' Larkin, her parents and grandmother return home to find a baby in a basket. ``I cannot take care of her now, but I know she will be safe with you. . . . I will come back for her one day. I love her,'' reads a note from the child's mother. The little one's name is Sophie, and she brings a great deal of joy and comfort to the household. Yet casting a shadow on this spirited baby's luminous presence is the family's knowledge that she does not truly belong to them, and that she cannot take the place of Larkin's brother, who died in infancy. The Newberry Medalist's lean yet lyrical narrative gracefully entwines past and present, as brief passages present an older Sophie's fragmented memories of her interlude with the family. Inspired by poems, songs and Sophie's growing vocabulary, Larkin (whose mother communicates through her paintings and whose father expresses himself through his tabletop tap dancing) ponders the meaning and power of words (``There were words in the spaces between us; those words we had never spoken, words about what I thought was right''). If the story is not as compelling as Sarah, Plain and Tall or Journey , MacLachlan's style remains masterly. It is difficult to read her sentences only once, and even more difficult to part from her novel. All ages. (Oct.)
(PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1993.)

Betsy Hearne (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September 1993 (Vol. 47, No. 1))
A poignant tale of doubles, this first-person narrative reveals twelve-year-old Larkin's grief over the recent death of her newborn brother and her ambivalence toward Sophie, a toddler abandoned on their Northeast coast island doorstep. Larkin's parents, too hurt to name or discuss their loss with Larkin, open their hearts to Sophie, even while knowing that Sophie's mother will return to claim her as soon as possible. Larkin's consolation has been her grandmother, Byrd, and her friend, Lalo, and the novel comprises a dance of healing in fragmentary scenes involving one or several of these six characters. MacLachlan's careful forecasting and stylistic control, reminiscent of nuances in Sarah Plain and Tall (BCCB 5/85), serve to smooth these scenes together, including Sophie's occasional memory flashbacks from ten years after the action, when Larkin brings her back to the island for Byrd's funeral. Occasionally the lyrical writing strains for effect, as when Lalo says something clever beyond his years, or word repetition emphasizes a development already rendered fictionally obvious-the one-word sentence "Love," for instance, concluding Larkin's emotional embrace with her father. Part of the plot, however, is a search for words, so the philosophizing, especially on the part of a poetic school librarian, underscores the story more than it interrupts it. What moves a reader beyond the level of MacLachlan's more generalized messages are the sharp, persistent details of daily living at which she excels; Papa's playing Rock-Paper-Scissors with Sophie long before she can understand the game makes an unforgettable motif. The dynamics of family are closely observed, and the situation itself is sensitively imagined and imaginatively rendered. R--Recommended. Reviewed from galleys (c) Copyright 1993, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1993, Delacorte, [112p], $13.95. Grades 5-7.
(PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1993.)

Back to Top

Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
New York N.Y.: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1995

Media Type: Language Material
132 p.
([Fic])
0606072209
0440411459
9780440411451
9780606072205
"A Yearling book."
Originally published New York: Delacorte Press c1993.
New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1995

Media Type: Language Material
132 p. ;
([Fic])
0440910641
9780440910640
"A Yearling book."
London: Julia MacRae, 1994

Media Type: Language Material
132p.
(813.54)
1856812294
9781856812290
New York NY: BDD Audio, 1993

Media Type: Nonmusical Sound Recording
2 sound cassettes (135 min.):
PZ7.M2225 ([Fic])
0553472321
9780553472325
Unabridged.
New York: Delacorte Press, 1993

Media Type: Language Material
132 p. ;
PZ7.M2225 ([Fic])
0385311338
9780385311335

Back to Top