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Foot Baby

A rhythmic read aloud & a relatable tale for families living with an infant and learning how babies discover the world through their mouths.

Photo of Carol Gordon Ekster
4 2

Written by

                        FOOT BABY


                    Carol Gordon Ekster


Makayla stares at her baby brother, Isaiah. His cuteness sometimes causes her to love him too much! …Until the day she discovers his yucky habit.

 He tosses socks and slips off shoes. Foot-baby! “Nom, nom, nom.”

Nothing blocks the way to his feet. … Grab-able, bite-able…what a treat!  

Makayla says, “No, Isaiah. Yucky!”

And she's off to find teething toys. But…

He turns into… Hand-baby.  “Nom, nom, nom.”

Every finger finds his lips…sloppy, slurpy, fingertips. Uh oh! Now it’s his whole fist! Hands taste yummy…even when they aren’t his own!

Makayla says, “No, Isaiah. Yucky!”

She tries other ideas.

He turns into… Shirt-baby.  “Nom, nom, nom.”

He mouths, twists, and tugs on shirts: Isaiah’s favorite for dessert. He leaves his mark far and wide.

Makayla says, “No, Isaiah. Yucky!”

And then one day, Makayla offers him something fresher than feet, more hunger-curing than hands, and more scrumptious than shirts. 

He turns into…Mango-baby! “Nom, nom, nom.”

Each lick of the tongue tastes so delicious. Dried mangos are full of flavor! But holding sticky sweetness all day and all night causes problems.

Until… the last slippery slab falls into the dog’s fur and there is no more dried mango anywhere.

Baby’s tears are falling. Without his mango, Isaiah’s bawling!

Makayla knows what to do. She guides him to… grabbable, bite-able, always-there feet! Sucking on toes, forever a treat. 

He is Foot-baby, after all. “Nom, nom, nom.”

[Illo note: Last illustration/page shows he’s sucking on Makayla’s toes. ]

Makayla says, “No, Isaiah. Yucky!”

[illo note: End pages can show Makayla feeding Isaiah in high chair when Isaiah is a bit older -maybe with 2 teeth - the time when it is suggested babies start solids.]


Describe the intended vision for your early childhood book manuscript in 1-2 sentences

To make a sweet family story and a fun read-aloud that help children realize that it's normal for infants to want to discover the world through their mouths. Illustration can show an urban family.

Share your suggested book title

Foot Baby

How has this book been informed by early childhood language development research and evidence? (response minimum 250 Characters)

I was an elementary teacher with my masters' degree in reading and language. I know the power of picture books. This book will engage children ages 0-3 with its rhythmic fun text, enhancement of language development, and the joy of a shared reading experience with an adult. This will begin children on the journey of a life-long positive feeling towards books.

How have you crafted this manuscript to resonate with and/or reflect the experiences of those living in urban contexts? (optional question)

The story is universal. I hope the illustrations will show a diverse family in an urban setting.

Location: Country


Location: State or Department


Location: City


Website URL (optional question)

Tell us more about you / your team

Carol Gordon Ekster was a passionate elementary school teacher for thirty-five years. Now retired, Carol is a published author, grateful that her writing allows her to continue communicating with children. When Carol Gordon Ekster is not thinking about writing or teaching, she does yoga, goes biking, is involved in critique groups and working on her books. She lives in Andover, Massachusetts with her husband Mark.

Provide an example visual identity for a look and feel you might like to achieve. ( (optional question, 3-5 visuals)

I'd love a multicultural and urban feel to the book, similar to the work of the amazing illustrator Christian Robinson.

Multiple Choice - Have you been previously published (online, self-published, and print included)?

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

Where Am I Sleeping Tonight? (A story of Divorce) Boulden Publishing, 2008 Ruth the Sleuth and the Messy Room, Character Publishing, 2011, Mazo Publishers 2018 Before I Sleep:I Say Thank You, Pauline Books and Media, 2015 Hip-Hopping Books, Schoolwide, Inc. (an e-book), 2015 Mama, Wist Je Dat? Clavis Books, December 2016 (Dutch version of You Know What?) You Know What? Clavis Books, September 2017 (Korean language edition released 2019. Arabic and Chinese editions are in process.

Do you have an agent?

  • No

How did you hear about the Challenge? (optional question)

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • I am/we are creatives, writers, or artists


Join the conversation:

Photo of Carol Gordon Ekster

Joannie, thanks for reading this! I tried, but couldn't work it to make it sound as good for developing language and appreciation of a rhythmic read aloud. I just don't want to dummy it down. But in looking again, I found two changes I could make. I do appreciate your thoughts.

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