Friday, February 27, 2009

Babies Don't Eat Pizza

Becoming a big brother or sister is a very big deal in a child's life. There are any number of "new baby" picture books and "where do babies come from?" nonfiction books. That's all well and good, but try to think of a book that discusses infant development on a child friendly level. I'll give you a few seconds.

(Humming the "Jeopardy" theme).

Same thing happened to me. I couldn't think of one!

Well, thanks to Dianne Danzig, Babies Don't Eat Pizza fills in that gap nicely. You won't find anything on human reproduction here. Instead, the book begins (very) briefly with the growth of the baby inside mommy's womb and the baby's birth. The baby's physical aspects (including the umbilical cord, the cone-shaped head, and the furry/silky hair that some babies have right after birth). We also learn exactly what these babies do....not much in the beginning, of course, other than sleep and eat. We also learn that babies communicate through crying and that they wiggle and squirm a lot (which is why it's important to have a grownup help hold the baby). Babies can be messy, and babies might pull your hair. Even if you tell the baby not to do that, he/she won't understand what you are saying, though. We also learn that babies enjoy music and looking at funny faces.

After all that talk about babies, it's time to talk about the new big brother or sister, and what a big job that is! Things do change when a new baby arrives. Kids and grownups might feel tired or left out. "Sometimes you might be excited to be the big sister or big brother. Sometimes you might want to act little or be a baby again. Sometimes you might want your parents to send your baby far, far away (but you know they won't). And sometimes, when your baby smiles at you-and wants to be with you and nobody else-then those times, you just might be glad that you have a baby brother or baby sister."

Awww. This is a very sweet (but not saccharine-there's plenty of humor) and respectful book. Kudos to Danzig for noting that some mommies have an operation to get the baby out, and that some babies need to stay in an incubator if they are small or sick. The book empowers children in interaction with their new brother or sister (games and activities are suggested, like singing and playing peek-a-boo). If you know of a soon-to-be big brother or big sister, get him/her this book.

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