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Sunday, July 24, 2011

How to be a BABY by Me, The big sister and Sally-Lloyd Jones, with illustrations by Sue Heap. Random House, 2007. $7.99 ages 4 and up

"When you're a baby,
you just wear your pajamas
and not real clothes.

Your mummy and daddy
have to dress you,
because you don't know how.
(But I do.)"

There are so many things that babies don't understand. Luckily, this one has a big sister to make the path smoother and easier to follow. After all, she has a lot of life experience. Her baby doesn't have hair (she does) and can't sing songs (she can and she knows the words and the tune); and she can name and list a multitude of other things he can't do, eat, avoid, or know. The lists are endless. While he is carried in a backpack and entertained in his crib, she is busy showing all those things that she CAN do: read, dance, walk, dress-up, write and draw.

It's great fun to watch the antics as she explains life and its many inequities between being young and being 'older':

"When  you're a baby,  it's not good
because the wind can blow you over.
When you're a baby, people eat your ice cream for you,
because ice cream isn't appropriate for babies.

And you're not allowed to TOUCH ANYTHING."

The list of toys that cannot be played with is accompanied by an illustration that shows the baby playing with 'boring' rattles, blocks and wind-up toys while the sister makes contented conversation with a host of Barbies. Ah, me!!

But, there are occasions when being a baby is quite all right:

"In the middle of the night,
you wake everyone up,
because you cry REALLY LOUD
and give me a headache.

And that's when I come in and
whisper to you and kiss you
and tell you, "Don't worry, Baby Dumpling,
it's just a scary dream," and then you feel better."

If you are expecting a new baby with an older sibling, or know someone who is...this is a perfect book to give as a gift  on your first visit. Imagine the delight of having someone read this when the new baby settles and there is undivided attention to give to the big sister, or brother!

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