February 9, 2010, Epoch Times
What to read before and after another baby arrives
The moment when a little girl or boy becomes a big sister or brother is one filled with excitement, newness, joy, and uncertainty. There are a bevy of books that aim to prepare the little one for his or her “big” new role. Some of these books focus on the idea of sibling rivalry and have been written, it seems, with the underlying assumption that a sense of jealousy is inevitable. Others celebrate the new addition to the family and the wonderful aspects of being the “big” sibling, while still recognizing the challenges of the adjustment for a young child. The following are some especially enjoyable selections that fall into the latter category. Look for these titles if you know of another baby on the way.
I’m a Big Brother! by Ronne Randall; illustrations by Kristine Stephenson; published by Parragon. Luke has just spent some time with Grandma and Grandpa and is happy when Mommy and Daddy come home with a surprise—“a new baby!” Little Luke can’t wait for the new baby to be big enough to play with him. When the growing baby grabs Luke’s train, however, he’s alarmed. His Mommy explains that the baby is ready to play now and Luke is overjoyed.
This adorable story portrays a loving family with parents that show unending support for both of their children. It depicts what it’s like to have a brand new baby at home and the excitement of each phase of the baby’s growth. I’m a Big Brother! sweetly celebrates the fun of being an older sibling and having a younger sibling to play with.
I’m a Big Brother/Big Sister by Joanna Cole; illustrations by Maxie Chambliss; published by Harper Collins. In this simple book, the reader is guided through the experience of having a new sibling by the big brother/sister himself/herself. It begins, “Someone new is at our house,” and goes on to describe how little the baby is, how gentle one must be with the baby, how the baby sometimes cries, how everyone was a baby once and how special the older sibling is to Mommy and Daddy. I’m a Big Brother/Big Sister is a simple and happy book with wording that may even be memorized or read by the savvy older sibling.
My New Baby illustrated by Annie Kubler; published by Child’s Play. This wordless board book depicts the familiar scenes of family activity surrounding a brand new baby. Central to each scene, of course, is the involvement of the older sibling who walks in the park with his Dad and the new baby, snuggles next to his Mom while she nurses the new baby, helps with the baby’s bath, shows the baby some toys, and says goodnight to the baby. Readers may delight in recognizing similarities between this family and theirs—pointing to familiar activities and objects and telling the story from their unique perspective. My New Baby tells its story solely through pictures, allowing even the youngest of older siblings to be able to “read” it on their own.
What a Good Big Brother! by Diane Write Landolf; paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher; published by Random House. Cameron loves his little sister Sadie and does all he can to help his Mom and Dad. He hands his Dad the wipes when Sadie needs a change, rubs Sadie’s belly when she lays down for her nap, and brings his Mom her nursing pillow when Sadie is hungry. Suddenly Sadie won’t stop crying no matter what Mom and Dad do, but when Cameron gently pats her head, she stops…and then smiles. This beautifully illustrated book depicts a caring, compassionate little boy who loves being a good big brother. What a Good Big Brother is a nice choice for even the not-so-new older sibling.
Katy Duck Big Sister by Alyssa Satin Capucilli; illustrated by Henry Cole; published by Little Simon (Simon & Schuster). Katy Duck loves to dance and twirl and loves an audience. However, sometimes Mrs. Duck and Mr. Duck are too busy with Katy’s little brother Emmett to pay attention to her performances. When Katy finds Emmett playing with her favorite tutu, she grabs it away, and Emmett cries. Katy feels terrible and decides to teach Emmett to dance and twirl, too. They share the tutu and play together. Katy Duck Big Sister addresses the attention that a new baby requires and the impact that can have on the older sibling, but stands out because it depicts the older sibling handling it positively with sharing and compassion.
Hello Baby! by Lizzy Rockwell; published by Dragonfly Books (Crown Publishers, Inc.). Another first person account of the big sibling experience, this story begins with the new baby still in Mommy’s body and delves into some details of pregnancy. The soon-to-be big brother introduces terms like womb and umbilical cord. He is seen at the doctor’s office with his Mom, helping his parents set up the nursery, and saying goodbye to his parents as they leave for the hospital while his grandparents stay with him. He is delighted when his Grannie gets the good news of his little sister’s birth and visits his parents and new baby in the hospital. Finally, he is shown helping to take care of the brand new baby on the day she comes home.
Hello Baby! spells out in detail the events leading up to and immediately following the birth of a new baby in a way that may ease a feeling of uncertainty for a young child. Curious minds will devour this book in anticipation of their new arrival and the big changes ahead.