Over before it began

The wife got me a big stack of baby books for Father’s Day. It was a great gift, as I’m already looking forward to reading to the kid when it’s born. In fact, we’ve already started reading to it a little bit before bed. Apparently babies are often calmed by hearing books that they first heard before they were born. One of these books is Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karent Katz. The editorial on Amazon is glowing – “Karen Katz’s adorable babies play peekaboo in this delightful interactive book. The sturdy format and easy-to-lift flaps are perfect for parents and children to share.” Sounds great! Until you look at the cover. Ms. Katz has begun her suspenseful mystery story with one unanswered question – where is Baby’s belly button? But on the FRONT COVER of the book, we clearly see Baby with her shirt pulled up, exposing the missing belly button! Never mind the horrible lessons we’re teaching young girls about lifting their shirts in public. I’ve solved the mystery before I even open the book! Ms. Katz tries to pretend that we’re all stupid, and waits until page six to once again reveal the location of the belly button. At the mere halfway point in the book, we’ve twice revealed the culprit. What if the cover of The Sixth Sense was a picture of Bruce Willis, dead? And then an hour into the movie, we watch him die? That is the sort of nonsense that Ms. Katz thinks we’re looking for in a baby book. She tries to arouse our curiosity with other mysteries – where are baby’s feet? Where are baby’s hands? But I have to admit that I found these questions empty. Once the belly button had made its premature appearance, the rest of the story couldn’t hold my attention, and I quickly put it down.

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