Whether it’s a baby shower or a sip-and-see (for you non-Southerners out there, it’s a gathering where an infant is adored), there is nothing I love more than holding a baby. In lieu of a real baby, I have to settle for books about babies. Lucky for me, there are some adorable new ones to add to my collection.
Melissa Guion’s newest offering, Baby Penguins Love Their Mama!, is one of those books that kids and parents will both love. A mama penguin is busy taking care of her very large family. Between swimming lessons on Monday and squawking on Saturday, it’s no wonder Mama has to take a nap on Sunday. The pencil-and-watercolor illustrations are the stars here—while Mama is playing the role of a modern overscheduled parent, the roly-poly babies are busy making something that Mama doesn’t notice. Follow the pictures and you will discover that these babies know a thing or two about appreciation. When Mama worries about the day when her babies grow up and can do things on their own, the babies assure her that she will always be their Mama. Their heart-shaped present is sure to warm Mama’s heart—and yours.
Il Sung Na’s A Book of Babies is as bright and sweet as its cover, which features a very yellow chick on a rich green background. Spring has come, and all sorts of babies are born. A new duckling explores the world, noticing other animals along the way. Very young readers will learn about these babies: Some have siblings, some have none, some can walk, some have fur and so on. Na’s colorful illustrations, filled with rainbows that pop in unexpected and welcome places (leaves, a lion’s mane, a seahorse’s pouch), are perfect for this dreamy story. Each loving animal family is shown taking care of its young offspring, reassuring young readers about how families care for their own babies. Textured papers, some used as background and others in collage, add depth and interest. In the end, this is a go-to-sleep book, the very best sort of book for babies and their tired parents.
One of the biggest challenges for new families is the birth of a second or third baby, especially when there is a toddler waiting suspiciously in the wings. Dino-Baby, written by Mark Sperring and illustrated by Sam Lloyd, is unabashed in its message about how a toddler needs to behave with a new baby in the house. Opening with an obviously pregnant dinosaur mother, this rhyming and rhythmic story directly addresses a wide-eyed dino-sister who wants to do the right thing for her new little brother. The right thing to do is be quiet when the baby is sleeping, share and be gentle and polite. Adults might like the message, but kids will stay for the humorous, bright cartoon illustrations. They’ll laugh at the father wearing a tie and the dino-baby wrapped in a cuddly blankie.
Keep these books in mind when that next baby shower invitation arrives in the mail.