My nine month old daughter is now finally playing with a few of the many books that have been given to her. I was a little worried at her lack of interest back when she lacked the strength and muscle control to turn pages, but now, her Baby Touch and Feel Animals is one of her all time faves. In fact, now that she has gained the strengths and muscle “control”, I’m a little worried that the book has unknowingly come under a new destiny of being ripped apart someday.
I’ve now taken a renewed interest in some of the books that have been waiting in the closet since October. Also, I saw how much fun Brandon had writing his crafty critiques for an “unnecessary” review. These two influencers have found me settling on the same idea: whether necessary or unnecessary, I have a few books to review.
The first awaits your reading below, with two more to follow in the coming days.
by Trish Cooke, Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Here is a book that uses repetition, which is quite important in the mental development of young children. We are introduced to individual members of a deep extended family. At first, we are led to believe that all these family guests are dropping by to visit the baby who doubles as the main character in the story. Towards the end of the story, we discover that everyone is, indeed, gathering at the baby’s house to celebrate a surprise birthday party for the baby’s father.
This is a book with a simple storyline but has a rich message of family love. Aunties and uncles, grannies and nannas, cousins all come to play with the baby, and show the support to the nuclear family of the mama, daddy, and baby. I love that the focus is on the baby for most of the book, but also dad as his birthday is being celebrated.
To me, this enforces that families are made up of many who share the spotlight and make room for everyone, instead of revolving around just one member. Everyone enters and interacts with the baby in a new loving sort of way, unique to that person. When dad enters, after initially being surprised, he drops his brief case (presumably after coming home from work), hugs his baby, and “rub the baby face against the whiskers on his chin”. The next page is a beautifully illustrated picture of the whole family dancing together; they’re laughing, eating, touching, and boogying down with a good old family dance party.
The family in this book is African American and I love having stories for our daughter featuring characters that don’t all look like her. For So Much! this enforces a reality that strong families and love transcend culture, ethnicity and race. I hope she loves this book as much as her mama does.