Please, Baby, Please

by Spike Lee (Author) Kadir Nelson (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade
From moments fussy to fond, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Spike Lee and his wife, producer Tonya Lewis Lee, present a behind-the-scenes look at the chills, spills, and unequivocal thrills of bringing up baby! Go back to bed, baby, please, baby, please. Not on your HEAD baby baby baby, please! Vivid illustrations from celebrated artist Kadir Nelson evoke toddlerhood from sandbox to high chair to crib, and families everywhere will delight in sharing these exuberant moments again and again.

Publishers Weekly

Many grownups will recognize the title as the comic carnal plea uttered by Lee (as Mars Blackmon) in his 1986 film, She's Gotta Have It. Now, the filmmaker and his wife/co-author, who have two children, have turned those words into a G-rated parental entreaty-directed at an inexhaustible toddler. "Go back to bed, / baby, please, baby, please./ Not on your head, / baby baby baby, please!" The large typography seems to writhe in vain supplication. The cherubic toddler, whose chocolate ringlets circle her head like restless electrons, tests her parents' patience in myriad ways, and Nelson (Just the Two of Us) has a knack for picking just the right angle. For the first of his handsome, burnished-toned acrylic spreads, readers share a toddler's eye-view. In the foreground are the feet of the prone, exhausted mother, a plastic ring from a stacking toy hanging from her left big toe, as a very wide awake baby plays horsey on her stomach. The clock on the VCR reads 3:01 a.m., and a bedtime video playing on the TV clearly makes no impact whatsoever. A tantrum when it's time to leave the playground, plus a chaotic meal and bath occasion other imploring phrases from the parents, whose presence Nelson suggests with just a foot or an arm outstretched to the youngster. But at book's end, the tables are turned: "Kiss me good night?/ Mama, Mama, Mama, please," says the girl, standing in the doorway of her mom and dad's room. The final wordless picture, a loving embrace, leaves no doubt of who loves this baby. Ages 2-5. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-K-At 3:01 a.m., an exhausted parent begs a riled-up youngster to "Go back to bed, baby, please, baby, please." At a quarter to eight, the plea is for the child not to dump cereal on her head. Throughout the day, the toddler is asked to share a ball, eat some peas, and sleep tight. Baby is asked to not eat sand, be a tease, or splash. After being put to bed at 8:00 p.m., she comes into her parents' bedroom two hours later and asks, "Kiss me good night? Mama, Mama, Mama, please." The litany of pleas will strike a chord with parents and caregivers, and will amuse children with its repetition and rhyme. Bright, full-bleed illustrations evoke the child-centered mayhem of this frazzled yet loving family. Baby, with her caramel-colored skin and corkscrew curls, sometimes appears unnaturally proportioned, her head too large and her limbs contorted, but the overall effect is humorous and action-packed.-Anna DeWind Walls, Milwaukee Public Library Copyright 2002 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Spike Lee
Spike Lee is one of the most prominent and influential media figures today. His films include the critically acclaimed School Daze; Academy Award nominee Do the Right Thing; Malcolm X; Clockers; and 25th Hour. Born in Atlanta, Spike attended Morehouse College and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where he earned his master of fine arts degree in film production. Spike and his wife are the authors of Please, Baby, Please, their first picture book with Simon & Schuster. They live in New York City with their two children.

Tonya Lewis Lee is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Virginia School of Law. As a children's television producer she has worked with Disney, Nickelodeon, and Noggin/The N, where she was the executive producer of the award-winning documentary I Sit Where I Want: The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education and the critically acclaimed miniseries Miracle's Boys. She is also the author of Gotham Diaries, her first novel.

Kadir Nelson is an award-winning American artist whose works have been exhibited in major national and international publications, institutions, art galleries, and museums. Nelson's work has won the Coretta Scott King Award, the Robert F. Sibert Award, two Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Awards, and the 2005 Society of Illustrators Gold Medal. His beloved, award-winning, and bestselling picture books include We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball; Thunder Rose, written by Jerdine Nolen; Ellington Was Not a Street, written by Ntozake Shange; Salt in His Shoes, written by Deloris Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan; and many more. Kadir lives in Los Angeles.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
November 20, 2002
Age Range
4 - 8 years

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