What's a good picture book for soon-to-be big siblings?
August 26, 2010 6:57 AM   Subscribe

What's a good picture book to help a toddler understand pregnancy and/or get ready for a new baby sibling?

Ideally, it would have an entirely positive approach. Most picture books on the subject seem to start with the bad effects of a new baby (jealousy, parental inattention, etc) and then say, "But it all turned out OK!" Obviously the negative stuff needs to be addressed at some point, but at least for now, I'd rather not plant the seeds of doubt.
posted by yankeefog to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I've heard good things about It's Not the Stork. I've read the books aimed at older kids by the same author, and their tone is always positive.
posted by cosmicbandito at 7:14 AM on August 26, 2010

There's a House Inside My Mommy is very good. It doesn't talk about the bad effects at all. Instead, it mostly concentrates on the pregnancy and what's happening with mommy, in a way that makes sense to toddlers. As far as possible jealous, etc., is concerned, sibling interaction is set up as: here's a little baby that's growing, and everyone's pitching in to help out.
posted by jujube at 7:19 AM on August 26, 2010

My 4-year-old loves Supersister, by Beth Cadena, which is all about the big sister being a helper to a pregnant mom, no conflict at all with the baby-to-be.
posted by libraryhead at 7:32 AM on August 26, 2010

Seconding 'There's a House'. We also got Waiting for Baby which our (nearly two-year-old) daughter really enjoys too. Each page has a little scenario (unpacking baby clothes, getting blood pressure tested) and some open-ended questions to get the ball rolling on things to talk about. The child and the baby are non-gender-specific ('There's a House' is about a boy and his little brother).

There are three further books in the series (one of which does touch on sibling rivalry). We've also got 'My New Baby' which we're going to pull out nearer the due date prepare our daughter for some more of the day-to-day basics of having a little baby around (nappy changing, feeding, that kind of thing).
posted by dogsbody at 7:34 AM on August 26, 2010

Waiting for Gregory is just lovely - really, really beautiful and fanciful. It's about the anticipation, and also the reality of a new baby's capabilities, answering questions an adult might not realize kids have. The rhythm for reading it aloud is great; the types of questions leave room for lots of discussion; and the illustrations lead to more.

I Love You The Purplest is not MY favourite book, but my daughter loved it. Again, it's at least nice to read aloud, though the illustration style doesn't appeal to me. It does do a lovely job of explaining how a mother can love her two children equally, but differently. The message is conveyed perfectly, and did remind me of more creative ways to compliment my daughter, and I even use the mother's techniques when I'm volunteering in kindergarten and need to find equitable praise for the members of the group I'm supervising.

And, though this veers close to the themes you're trying to avoid, kids freaking love the Chester Raccoon series, and A Pocket Full of Kisses also conveys a similar message as I Love You The Purplest without dwelling too much on the resentfulness issue and it's not too painful for an adult to read the many many times that it will be requested.

Last, A Baby Sister for Frances is probably exactly what you don't want, and it's not exactly a picture book - but it's so delightfully complex and well-written and charming and not one bit condescending, as are all the Frances books, that we read it again and again not for any purpose other than that we adore Frances. Baby sister Gloria's appearance in Best Friends for Frances is a great way to show a positive sibling relationship later on and as the voice of wisdom in A Bargain for Frances the presence of Gloria is a priceless way to show that down the road, a sibling is a part of your life, but not an overwhelming presence all the time.

I should note that we only have our daughter, but that she's incredibly curious about brothers and sisters and that because she's at an age when most of her friends have littler siblings, she wants to know what that's like for them so we explore it through books. I have my friends' assurances that we're not far off in our reading choices.
posted by peagood at 7:56 AM on August 26, 2010

My son liked My Big Brother when his little sister was born. It shows the big brother (there's also a "sister" version) from the little kid's perspective, and is pretty amusing, and as I recall it's all "my big brother is soooo coool."
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:21 AM on August 26, 2010

Good suggestions on this previous thread
posted by nuffsaid at 9:19 AM on August 26, 2010

I was coming in to repeat my answer in the previous thread.

I used to sell those books all the time when I was a kids bookseller. They're wonderful.
posted by bibliogrrl at 9:36 AM on August 26, 2010

If you want something age-appropriate but more in-depth, I would recommend Hello, Baby very highly. There are cross section illustrations of a baby growing in a uterus, and if I remember correctly it might refer to pregnancy being the result of sperm fertilizing an egg. I don't remember any references to how the sperm GETS to the egg. Once the baby is born, the mom in the book breastfeeds.
posted by peep at 11:00 AM on August 26, 2010

Response by poster: I swear that I searched before posting, but I somehow missed the previous thread. I clearly need to improve my searching skills.

On the plus side, there are some great suggestions here that weren't in the previous thread, so maybe it worked out OK.

Thanks, everybody! I really appreciate the suggestions.

And now, off to Amazon and the library.
posted by yankeefog at 2:24 AM on August 27, 2010

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