Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WWRW: Best Books about New Babies

Welcome to What We're Reading Wednesday.  Your No-Rules Link-up for the middle of the week. (Well, it would be nice if your post included mention of a book, and a link-back.) Your online book club.  Your easy-peasy post for Hump Day on the week of 7 Posts in 7 Days.

Read a book? Blog about it, link-up.  It's that simple.

Scroll to the bottom for the link-up, or go more slowly and take a gander at what I've been using to avoid housework lately.

A few weeks ago, I lamented the lack of good new sibling storybooks.  By "good" I mean stories that do not use jealousy as a major plot point.

The combox and the Facebook page bloomed with wonderful recommendations from readers and bloggers. Here is a complete list of what was recommended as well as my short reviews of the ones I have read.  I have starred the ones I haven't read.  And if I haven't read them, it's because the library doesn't have them.

Baby on the Way (Sears Children Library) by Dr. Sears is an informative about pregnancy.  Mom eats more, sleeps more, uses the word "uterus,"  a little bit about labor, most of the info was about the mom. Jill was fascinated by the drawing of the newborn with a cord and clip still attached.

*What Baby Needs (Sears Children Library) by Dr. Sears I'm guessing it's more of the same, but with more of a focus on the baby.

Eloise Wilkin Stories (Little Golden Book Treasury) by Eloise Wilkin (Includes Baby Dear)  Since Baby Dear is out of print, this is the easiest way to get a copy.  Baby Dear is the main character's new doll baby, which her daddy gave her "on a very special day," the day that her mother brought home her new baby sister.  Each page shows the mother caring for the new baby, and the daughter caring for the doll baby.

We have big plans for a similar doll baby purchase when Jill's very special day comes. I'm leaning towards the American Girl Itty Bitty Baby.  We've never had one of those in the house before.  I'm not joking either.

The Baby Sister (Goodnight) by Tomie dePaola is arguably Jill's favorite of the bunch. This autobiographical tale from Mr. dePaola's childhood includes such characters as his Italian grandmother, his Irish grandmother, and his new baby sister, Maureen. Jill really likes Maureen and exclaims "She's so cute!" every time she sees her picture. She also says, "Let's get that baby!" because of her continued catalog mentality. Unfortunately, chances of her getting a dark-haired sibling are slim.

The New Baby (Usborne First Experiences) by Anne Civardi, illustrated by Stephen Cartwright is a solid work on the topic.  Getting ready for baby, grandparents coming to babysit during a hospital birth, the happy chaos/exhaustion that follows.  This book only shows breastfeeding.  Also, like everything illustrated by Stephen Cartwright, there is a tiny yellow duck hidden on every page, which always surprises and delights Jill.

There's Going to Be a Baby by John Burmingham and Helen Oxenbury is in my opinion the most beautifully illustrated book in this list.  In There's Going to Be a Baby, the expectant mother is always dressed in lovely frocks and kitten heels.  Gosh, she's gorgeous.

Slightly out of focus, but you see what I mean.
They don't even make maternity clothes like this lady has.
Some of the wordless sequences with the older-sibling-to-be were fantastical to the point of not-making-sense to Jill, so we skimmed most of those.  Now, that I think about it, I do not remember any mention or picture of a father figure, but it wasn't obvious when we read it.

Waiting for Baby (My New Baby) by Harriet Ziefert is a short story about a boy who does everything he can to encourage his sibling to arrive.  I know exactly how he feels. The mother in this book looks a lot more like me than the mother in the Oxenbury book above.

This is a newer version of the book Jill is holding below.
I'm a Big Sister/I'm a Big Brother by Joanna Cole is another solid new sibling tale.  The girl in it takes great pride in being helpful (holding the baby with mommy's permission, etc.) as well as pointing out the things that she can do that the new baby cannot, like eat pizza.  Many thanks again to Catherine at Catholic Mom Apologia for doubling our new baby library with this gift!

My New Baby by Rachel Fuller is a large board book with very few pages.  It's extremely basic, and would be perfect for a very young child.  My New Baby also shows the new baby nursing.

Rosie's Babies by Martin Waddell  We are big-time Martin Waddell fans over here. Can't You Sleep, Little Bear? and Owl Babies have been in our bedtime repertoire for at least a decade.  In Rosie's Babies, Rosie's mom takes care of the new brother, while Rosie takes care of her two stuffed animals.  When baby brother is finally asleep, Rosie gets some one-on-one time with her mother.  It's not exactly about sibling jealousy, but Rosie's Babies does point out the juggling attention act that takes place when a new sibling comes along.

Welcome, Little Baby by Aliki is about a new baby, not a new sibling.  With pretty images and simple prose, Welcome, Little Baby is a sweet book about newborns, appropriate for the very young (under 2) child.

The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman is not a book about new babies, or new siblings, exactly.  It is the story of a couple with one picky eater child, and then they are blessed with six more children in succession, each one is different and each one has a different food preference.  The storyline is far-fetched,  (I doubt anyone could live off of pink lemonade.) but the rhymes and the pictures are so captivating that I was neither annoyed nor frustrated (rhyming books are not usually my thing).  I love the realistic images of a house with a large family, and the poor overworked mother who finally gets recognized and cherished in the end.

My apologies for the grainy image.  It was the only picture I could find.

*Baby Margaret Mary: My Journey to Birth by Gale Crush  Anne at Annery at Home recommends this one.  She wrote, "I really, truly love this book because it gives a way for siblings to be included on the baby's journey to birth. Baby Margaret Mary writes a letter each week telling what she's been up to, and it includes a verse from the bible each week as well. It's not necessarily a "getting ready for baby" book in the traditional sense, but it helps young ones visualize what is happening in utero, so when the baby shows up at the end of the journey, it's kind of like, "oh there you are, we've been waiting for you!"  This book will probably find a way into Jill's Easter basket or become one of her Mary birthday presents.

*Welcome With Love by Jenni Overend is by far the most detailed children's book about childbirth on this list.  Welcome With Love is specifically about a home-birth.  I cannot find a copy to review, but I did find a very in-depth review with photos of some of the more intimate pictures here.

*Angel in the Waters by Regina Doman is about a baby's development in utero.  The baby also has a relationship with her guardian angel.  My mother had this book on her nightstand back in the 90s, but I did not read it, or I don't remember doing so.  It's illustrated by Charlotte's CPF (close personal friend) Ben Hatke, so I might have to invest in this one too.

If I've missed anything or you have more and better suggestions, please, share your knowledge with me.

That pretty much sums up what Jill and I have (or haven't, remember I haven't read the starred ones) been reading.  I already told you what Patrick and Edmund were reading here.

So now it's your turn!


  1. That first book you mention is the one my boys recently found in our house and asked if it was okay to read because they "talk about virginias in it!" Haha!

    1. Does it mention "virginias"? Seriously? How could I have missed that?

  2. This will be going around Pinterest in no time I'm sure. What a great list.

    1. Ditto. I am pinning right now! I love this post, perfect timing as well for our new little one.

  3. Great list. I love Angel in the Waters. I read it to my Sunday school kids every year (prolife and Guardian angel)!

  4. I agree...I had serious clothing envy after reading the John Burmingham/Helen Oxenbury book! But it made me really happy to see pregnancy portrayed so beautifully--refreshing in this world that seems to so often view it as a disease!
    The Seven Silly Eaters is one of our favorites--we've already gone through two copies in this house because it is so loved. To our surprise, we found out a few months ago that it's actually dedicated to a dear friend of ours, Deborah Freedman, who writes and illustrates some lovely picture books of her own (Mary Ann Hoberman is her aunt).

  5. I think our midwife loaned us Welcome with Love when I was expecting Gabriel. If I remember, yes, it does have images of a birth. It was tastefully done, though, and my kids absolutely loved it.

    I love this list. Bookmarking for future use. Thanks for hosting again!

  6. Have Baby Dear frm my childhood:) and also have Rosie's Babies and Angel in the Waters. Have to see if I can find other recs, this is a great list!

    If you want birth books not just sibling ones I wrote some here