Tumbleweed Baby

Anna Myers

Book - 2014

Long ago in Nowhere, Texas, Mama and Papa Upagainstit agree to take in the wild baby their five children find in a passing tumbleweed, despite the objections of the one who used to be "the littlest-of-all girl."

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Picture books
New York : Abrams Books for Young Readers 2014.
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Main Author
Anna Myers (-)
Other Authors
Charles Vess (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

The Upagainstit family's ramshackle home in Nowhere, Texas, is surrounded by sand and tumbleweeds everywhere. When a foundling somersaults out of the brush, the littlest-of-all Upagainstit girl objects to this interloper. "She's a wild-all-over baby. . . . Put her back." Mama gives the resisting newcomer a bath, and Papa gives her a supper of peas and mashed potatoes, which she hurls madly into the air. Furthermore, she produces a terrible ruckus at bedtime. However, the family members provide creative justifications for keeping her and proceed to "love all the wildness out of her." Full of warmth and energy, the story is illustrated with a palette of sandy yellows, warm browns, and vast blue skies that depict a nostalgic western landscape. Illustrations in colored inks and colored pencils and specific dialogue give special character to each family member, including the tangle-haired toddler, who learns a surprise from her sister at the conclusion. Lots of humor here and lots of love. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In her first picture book, Myers (Time of the Witches) introduces the hardscrabble Upagainstit family and their foundling child. In pencil-and-ink drawings of drought-ridden Texas landscapes, Vess (Blueberry Girl) pictures the father, mother, and children as sharecroppers in an earth-colored farmhouse. When the five siblings find a baby in a tumbleweed and debate whether to keep her, one child disapproves: " ‘She's a wild-all-over baby,' said the littlest-of-all girl. ‘Put her back.' " They take her home anyway, only to find that the long-haired, naked Tumbleweed Baby revolts in the bathtub, flings food, and makes "a terrible ruckus." Nevertheless, everyone but the youngest girl wants to give her a chance. Myers eases readers through the folksy story, repeating evocative names and phrases. She reveals the reason for the littlest girl's resistance only on the last page, ending on a piquant surprise note. Vess's child characters are awkwardly proportioned, and the baby's size varies dramatically, yet images of dirt fields and blue skies capture the aura of mystery and hopefulness of this strange country tale. Ages 4–6. Author's agent: Victoria Marini, Gelfman Schneider. Illustrator's agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Oct.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

PreS-Gr 3—The Upagainstit family of seven lives in Texas in a dilapidated house surrounded by sand and tumbleweeds. As the five children are walking home from school one day, the "biggish" boy stumbles over a tumbleweed concealing a wild baby. The youngsters agree to take her home, all except the littlest-of-all girl, who thinks they should just put her back. When the kids get back, Mama decides that this wild baby needs a bath immediately, and the much-needed washing is a challenge indeed. The family begins to work together to try to settle the baby into their routine, much to the chagrin of the littlest-of-all girl, who maintains that this addition is a bad idea. Each family member uses his or her unique interests and talents to help the baby assimilate and to make an argument as to why they should keep her. When the final decision is finally made, an interesting change of heart brings it all home. Myers's tall tale is reminiscent of Dust Bowl-era Americana. The characters are warm and likable, and the interaction among siblings is realistically appealing. Vess's beautifully drawn artwork created in ink and colored pencil adds a higher level of emotion to a sweet tale of family life.—Amy Shepherd, St. Anne's Episcopal School, Middleton, DE [Page 92]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Long ago in Nowhere, Texas, Mama and Papa Upagainstit agree to take in the wild baby their five children find in a passing tumbleweed, despite the objections of the one who used to be "the littlest-of-all girl."

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Discovering a wild baby in the tumbleweeds near their cozy farm home, a large, loving family in the 1930s Dust Bowl identifies the ways she does and does not fit in before concluding that her wildness makes her one of them. Simultaneous eBook. 15,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A large, loving family in the 1930s Dust Bowl finds a “tumbleweed baby”—a wild baby—in the plains near their cozy farm home. The baby’s new siblings discover the ways she fits and doesn’t fit into the family, ultimately deciding that her wildness makes her one of them. The rhythm and voice of the text make this feel like a classic tall tale, and it pairs perfectly with the dreamy, warm art from master illustrator Charles Vess.