#912 – Babies Ruin Everything by Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr

babiesruineverythingcover Babies Ruin Everything
Written by Matthew Swanson
Illustrated by Robbi Behr
Imprint 7/19/2016
40 pages   Ages 4—7

Release Day!


“So says a spunky little girl who thinks her new baby brother is ruining EVERYTHING: wrecking her room, drooling all over her Knock On Wood Toys given by her mom, and throwing a wrench in her birthday party plans. She´s going to need some of the best toys for girls under 12 after this.

“But when she opens her heart, this big sister realizes she might be the real problem—the baby’s just a baby, after all. Maybe he just needs a better big sister.

“Tall kids, small kids, and parents alike will chuckle through this playfully sweet tale of learning how wonderful—and lucky—it is to be an older sibling.” [inside jacket]

The day a young girl becomes a big sister, she is at grandma’s house—where nothing is right—while (she believes), mom, dad, and the new baby are having a party. When mom and the baby return home, things change. Dad forgets to say hello to the young girl’s pet hamster. Mom insists she be nice to the baby. And then, the baby moves into her room, which no longer looks as it should. A cute baby poster replaces her “Types of Deadly Spiders” poster. It is obvious—to the girl—the bedroom is too small for her, her pet hamster, and this baby. She suggests the baby live in the kitchen, but mom and dad don’t agree.

spread2Then the worst of the worst thing happens. The young girl is ready to go to big-head Benny Hogarth’s birthday party, but dad can’t find his car keys—the baby lost them. Mom tells her what she tends to say each time something happens, “Try to remember the baby doesn’t know any better.” The young girl has had it,


”Try to remember he is just a baby.” (again mom)

The reluctant big sister totally disagrees. She thinks the baby is “a monster! An abomination! A creature from the deep!” And, the baby “does not understand the importance of parties.”



Slowly, the young girl goes from being angry to having a tantrum. Her baby brother matches the young girls upset face. Then a tear falls, then he cries, and then he squalls. Somehow, this sequence of identical fit throwing brings the two together in ways nothing else could. The young girl decides the baby needs a better big sister. She begins to teach him the important things he should know, which often gets mom mad and the young girl into a corner. The parents finally figure out what is going on. It is now two kids against two parents, making the parents woefully outnumbered.

tntrumsBabies Ruin Everything is a laugh-out-loud story that is perfect for new siblings, second-time parents, and all those related. The humor is on point perfect. The changes a new baby causes, often disrupting old patterns of behavior, and the baby’s needs always dominating over all else is well played. I love the spread where the young girl makes a fort club and excludes baby brothers. When mom insists the baby be included, the girl changes the club rules to one for “people with moms who don’t understand how clubs are supposed to work.”

9The illustrations are created with pen, ink, and gouache on hot-pressed watercolor paper—except for the backgrounds, monkeys, and the boring adults, which are digital collages. The illustrations perfectly enhance the text and draw readers into the story. It is difficult not to understand the young girl’s frustration with the baby her parents bring home and her desire for a new, better model once the images begin to show the frustration of this new, reluctant big sister. The rhythm between the text and the illustrations is perfect, as if the author and the illustrator have become one, figuratively of course.

spread3Like all relationships, the two siblings find common ground, mainly through a joint desire to run the house. Yes, two kids, many years younger and with much less life experience can and do trump these two adult parents. This twist in viewpoint is hilarious and a perfect way to end this hilarious and lovely picture book. Expect Babies Ruin Everything to top many award lists this year and next.

BABIES RUIN EVERYTHING. Text copyright © 2016 by Matthew Swanson. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Robbi Behr. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Imprint, New York, NY.

AmazonIndie BooksApple BooksImprint

Find Babies Ruin Everything on Goodreads HERE.
Find the Activity Guide HERE.

Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr:  http://robbiandmatthew.com/
Follow Matthew on Twitter          @writingmatthew
Follow Robbi on Twitter              @drawingrobbi
Follow Babies Ruin Everything on Twitter        #BabiesRuinEverything

Imprint:  http://us.macmillan.com/publishers/Imprint
Follow on Twitter          @MacKidsBooks

Imprint is a part of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.


Even the end pages look terrific.

Reprinted with permission from BABIES RUIN EVERYTHING © 2016 by Matthew Swanson, Imprint, a part of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Illustrations © 2016 by Robbi Behr.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Babies Ruin Everything
Written by Matthew Swanson
Illustrated by Robbi Behr
Imprint 7/19/2016


22 thoughts on “#912 – Babies Ruin Everything by Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr

  1. Thanks, Sue, for this thoughtful review. I’m so pleased (and flattered) that you enjoyed our book and appreciated the humor (the club for confused moms is my favorite moment, too). Thanks so much for taking the time to share our book with your readers! I look forward to following your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds very funny. As a pet, I will say that the daddy not saying hello to the pet hamster is pretty bad. Baby or no baby, pets should always be #1! Plus babies are delicious.

    Love and licks,


  3. This looks fantastic. I love the page where the baby and the girl are getting into tantrum mode together: really creative. Also, the look of absolute joy in the baby’s eyes as he splatters food everywhere. I loved your review of this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: #912 – Babies Ruin Everything by Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr — Kid Lit Reviews – Jasper Lynn

  5. I have to say, this book looks appealing on every level. I love the “voice” of it and how it plays out. I’ll definitely be looking for it on the shelf! 😀 Great review, as always, Sue 😀


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