Babyberry Pie

How do you bake a babyberry pie? Pick one wiggly baby from the babyberry tree. Pop him in the tub and scrub clean. Add sugar to his nose and toes. Tuck him into a warm pie crust. And don’t forget a kiss goodnight!

That’s the perfect recipe for a babyberry pie—and a playful, peaceful bedtime. (Just don’t let that little giggleberry wiggle away!)


 A rhyming recipe for bedtime. As Dad pushes his toddler on a tree swing in the backyard, the story in verse begins: “When the moon goes dancing / Across the starry sky, // It’s time to bring the baby in / For babyberry pie!” Dad carries Baby inside, where both parents give him his bath. Before he’s even dry, he races away—“Splish-a-splash— / He makes a dash”—and does some seriously messy mischief to a pie cooling on the windowsill. “Catch that giggleberry, wiggleberry one!” Back in the tub Baby goes, before he’s finally settled into his pie crust (that is, quilts and pillows piled high). “It’s time for pies / To close their eyes // And dream a lullaby.” Schwartz’s clean, homey illustrations use pen-and-ink for crisp outlines and gouache to give her pastel palette a bit of pop. Children and parents on their ninth or tenth reading will love spotting the benignly smiling moon, clad in a pink shift and sporting tiny, pipestem limbs, on her own parallel trip to dreamland. A lovely variation on “Patty Cake” for the very young. (Kirkus Reviews)

Schwartz brings out her best with these vivid gouache and pen-and-ink illustrations of a family getting a toddler ready for bed. A berry pie cools on the kitchen windowsill as Dad gives baby a nighttime swing outside. Soon, the parents “pick a baby/From the babyberry tree” and plop him into the tub. Bath over, he runs off, finds the pie, and dumps it on his head, then gleefully gets captured for a re-bubble. Babyberry gets sprinkled with “sugar” (powder) in tickly spots before being tucked into the “pie crust” (blankets) for a kiss good night. Frederick’s rhyming text, repetition, and wordplay amplify the fun in this yummy mix of old-fashioned cozy and modern setting. (School Library Journal)

Reminiscent of Bruce Degen’s Jamberry with its lilting rhythm and gentle illustrations, this amiable bedtime book ostensibly gives a recipe for making babyberry pie, but ends up modeling a loving family’s bedtime ritual. The book opens as a father pushes a baby in a backyard swing and the mother welcomes them inside: “First you pick a baby/ From the babyberry tree—/ One who’s sweet,/ A cuddly treat—/ And bring him home to me.” Schwartz (Tiny and Hercules) and novelist Frederick (the Mother-Daughter Book Club series), making her picture book debut, show the loving parents bathing the baby (“Scrub his toes,/ His ears and nose,/ With a kiss and a rub-a-dub-dub!”). When the baby makes a dash for freedom (“Catch that little giggle-berry, wiggleberry one!”) and tips a freshly made pie off the windowsill, his parents cheerfully give him another bath and tuck him in. Schwartz’s cozy patterned wallpaper and fabrics lend a homey mood to the illustrations, rendered in gouache and pen-and-ink, and Frederick’s verbal imagery of piecrust quilts and sugary baby powder help create a book as sweet as pie. (Publishers Weekly)

Messing things up is a lot more fun in books than in real life. Cleanup is a lot easier, too—in fact, it can be absolutely adorable, as it is in Babyberry Pie. Heather Vogel Frederick’s book starts with a nighttime bath that baby and parents (lovingly and warmly portrayed in illustrations by Amy Schwartz) thoroughly enjoy. But while being toweled dry, the little “babyberry” runs off and heads straight for the pie cooling on the windowsill, becoming a “little sillyberry, messyberry one” as he dumps pie all over himself and all over the floor (in books, this is cute). So the indulgent parents, always smiling, give him another bath and play sugar games as they powder him—as if he has sugar on his bellybutton, fingertips, everywhere. Then they make a “pie crust” of quilts and pillows in the crib: “It’s time to tuck the baby in/ For babyberry pie!/ Pop him in the pie crust./ Pull the covers tight.” Sleepy baby, sleepy moon watching from overhead, and a tender ending make this a lovely bedtime story—although presumably the parents need to get back to the kitchen to clean everything up before they too can settle down for the night. (

Babyberry Pie

Heather Vogel Frederick
illus. by Amy Schwartz
Simon & Schuster, 2010

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