Here are some lines from early on in Baby, Come Out! (1972) by Fran Manushkin and Ronald Himler, illustrator.
For breakfast she gave the baby milk, soft-boiled eggs, and good raisin toast. ‘Do you like your food?’ she asked. And from deep inside her, Baby would say, ‘Ummm.’
Mommy treats Baby so well that Baby doesn’t want to leave! That saddens Mother greatly. The whole family — brother, sister, grandpa and grandma – try talking to Baby to convince her to come out; to no avail, Baby tells them she likes it where she is. Daddy’s the one who holds the loving secret to getting Baby to want to come out.
I struggle to describe this book in any other words than too cute!
Since this unborn baby the reader can see and the others in the story can hear, it’s very appropriate (although odd at first glance!) for the little babe to be drawn looking like a miniature girl with a head full of hair. Rest assured, when Baby comes out, you see it’s really a normal looking newborn.
I’ve always been a fan of the framing of images in rectangular boxes and Himler employs them expertly, helping to pace the story and providing moments of rest with blank space.
From Fran Manushkin’s web site she tells you that this book, which has been internationally loved and translated into seven languages, was voted as worst book of the year when it came out. Perhaps people get alarmed when they see something different, for this truly is a one of a kind book. I also discovered that the book has been lately reissued with color (mine is just pen-and-ink drawings inside). I don’t miss the color — that’s the charm of the writing. Sweet, family book.