Baby Louise just won’t stop crying. She wails until the pictures fall off the walls; she hollers till the birds fly out of the trees. Just when the whole family and all the neighbors have exhausted their tried-and-true remedies, Louise’s brother, Daniel, saunters in, leans over the crib, and says ”oonga boonga.” Louise smiles from ear to ear.
Every family with a new baby has experienced the wonderful fascination that an older sibling can exert on a crabby infant. Frieda Wishinsky’s bright and funny picture book, Oonga Boonga, could be the perfect balm for the wounder feelings of any child who has a new baby brother or sister. It zeroes in on the special bond between siblings without for one second resorting to ”there, there, dear” condescension.
Suçie Stevenson’s big, brightly colored pictures are alive with squiggly lines and bouncy action: Grandpa desperately doing a jig for the bawling Louise, Mama tenderly rocking her, the neighbors pitching in with advice (”Turn her on her stomach.” ”Play Mozart.”).
Daniel’s the one with the magic touch and the satisfying punch line. The while family starts using ”oonga boonga” to keep Louise happy. But when ”oonga boonga” wears out and Louise starts crying again, Daniel strolls to the rescue. ”Bonka wonka, Louise,” he whispers. And Louise starts smiling again. A