Simon Puttock (text) & Nadia Shireen (illustrations)
(Nosy Crow)

Mr and Mrs Deer are desperate for a baby of their own, so when a swaddled little creature is left on their doorstep, Mrs Deer thinks her dream has come true at last, while Mr Deer cannot help feeling concerned by its unorthodox look and constant roaring. But the baby cannot be appeased and the first time parents, unsure as to what to do, call on friends to help. Inexplicably, the friends keep disappearing, and the baby keeps roaring. It takes Granny Bear, with her expertise on child rearing, to uncover the truth about this peculiar bundle of joy.

Oh dear, this new baby malarkey is definitely not going well for Mr and Mrs Deer! But this hilarious tale of deceit and bad behaviour will have little readers in hoots of laughter. The baby monster’s disguises, its shameless conduct and the clueless but enthusiastic parenting from the Deers come together wonderfully to create a comical and madcap tale.

Nadia Shireen’s quirky an brightly coloured illustrations emulate the wackiness of Simon Puttock’s tale, but they also add to the story: the clues in the illustrations are enough for the audience to work out what is really happening well before Mr and Mrs Deer do. Young readers will enjoy watching the story unravel while feeling a little bit smug that they already know where it is really going. But they might not see the twist in the final page coming, which will surprising but nonetheless hilarious. There is no happy ending in this tale, but the Deers’ further misfortunes are for the readers to speculate, leaving it quite safe for those not wanting to know more!

Young audiences, especially those with tiny siblings, will enjoy coming across a tale which does not portray babies as being all sweetness. After all, bringing a newborn in the family is not without challenges, even if hopefully nobody has to deal with the local doctor being gobbled up!

 The Baby That Roared! is a wickedly funny tale about the perils of babies. It is great material for laugh out loud storytime.

All illustrations © Nadia Shireen

Many thanks to the lovely people at Nosy Crow for sending me a review copy of “The Baby That Roared!”.