On Becoming a Brother
June 2, 2011 6:04 AM   Subscribe

Do you know of any good books for toddlers about becoming an older sibling? Any specific to becoming a big brother?

Toddler Zizzle's sibling will be here in a few months, and we want to start preparing him.

Books about new babies and being an older sibling would be great. Toddler Zizzle is two and a half, so if suggestions could be kept to age appropriateness, that would be great, too.
posted by zizzle to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
My family just went through this --- our five-year old son was joined by his newborn sister. There are a huge number of books on the subject.

None of the books we got stand out for me. The most important thing is finding books that fit your family's circumstances and style. The books vary a lot in how they treat the arrival of the new family member, and they focus on different aspects of the process. Some books focus on the pregnancy. Some focus on the time of the labor and delivery --- that can be stressful, so it's good to rehearse it in advance with the little one so they're not surprised when Mama and Papa leave and Grandpa (or whoever) shows up to take care of them. Finally, there are books that focus on how the family dynamic will change once the new baby arrives.

There were certain books we knew we didn't want. There are many books that show older siblings getting upset and angry that the baby is getting all the attention. I guess it's nice to have books to deal with that if it happens. On the other hand, we didn't want to give our son the advance expectation that his little siblings would be causing problems. It was hard to screen these out in advance --- we sometimes just needed to ditch books after they arrived from Amazon because they didn't handle the subject the way we wanted.

Similarly, on the birth-event stuff, we did a home birth so we didn't want too much focus on the hospital.

Amazon reviews are a good way to screen, but if you have a local bookstore I'd recommend going and reading books there and purchasing the ones you like. Libraries will also have collections on a particular subject-matter put together in advance. You could go to the kids room and ask what they recommend for arrivals of new children.

Oh --- and many of these books come in two flavors: "I'm going to be a big brother" and "I'm going to be a big sister". So it shouldn't be hard to find that.

Congratulations! Have fun and stay excited.
posted by alms at 6:17 AM on June 2, 2011

The New Baby by Mercer Mayer!

Widely recommended for the 18 months to 36 months set. We started reading it with my toddler when he was about 18 months old, and within a few weeks he could tell us things babies like (rocking, tickling, etc.) and he would stare FASCINATED at it, listen silently, and want to read it over and over again. It definitely made an impression. There's even a page with a picture of a pacifier, which is a Big. Deal. in this house. Around 22 months he started wanting to apply his knowledge to other babies he met. He actually GAVE A BABY BACK ITS DROPPED PACIFIER and repeated a line from the book when he did.

It begins with the new baby coming home and "Little Critter" (who's a boy) is very excited to share his toys with the new baby (a girl) and tell it jokes, but mostly the new baby cries and poops and isn't very fun. Then his mom teaches him that he can snuggle the baby, and tickle the baby, and give her a rattle, and so on. And all his friends think he's sooooooo lucky for having a baby.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:48 AM on June 2, 2011

We used I'm a Big Sister for the little girl I babysit. There's a brother version that I'm sure is just the same. It's very straightforward, with no mention of resentment on the part of the older sibling. It reinforces the niceness of being the older sibling who can eat pizza and make the baby warm and cozy.
posted by zoomorphic at 6:54 AM on June 2, 2011

I like Just Me and My Little Brother which is also by Mercer Mayer. I like Mercer Mayer's books as it is and this one is very sweet.
posted by onhazier at 7:06 AM on June 2, 2011

I love My Big Brother, which is told from the baby's point of view but is actually for the big kid.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:43 AM on June 2, 2011

I'm a Big Brother (which is also available as I'm a Big Sister) was a really great book. It looks like it has a 2010 version, but I'm not sure if it's the same, which is why I have linked to an ancient version, although I have one from around 2007. It gets into feelings. It also does a FANTASTIC job of setting expecations, in that the baby clearly does not do any of the things that the little boy in the book wants the baby to do until a LOT of time goes by. And it talks about things the brother can do with the baby in the meantime.
posted by acoutu at 10:48 AM on June 2, 2011

I remember reading Little Duck and the New Baby when I was a tot.
posted by pemberkins at 3:17 PM on June 2, 2011

My truck-loving two and a half year old is crazy for Digger Man. It's just a nice story about an older brother who wants to teach his little brother about diggers. It's not about a new sibling and there's no baby angst, but it we're using it a lot to talk about being a big brother. Plus, did I mention that the book is full of trucks?

I'm going to have to check out some of these other books, too.
posted by rebeccabeagle at 7:41 PM on June 2, 2011

We got our nephew I'm a Big Brother by Joanna Cole and Hello Baby by Lizzie Rockwell.

I'm a Big Brother is nice and there is a good potty-training book in the same series (same art, same author).

Hello Baby, if I am remembering right, has pictures that are *very* clear about what's going on inside mom - there is a cutaway diagram of the baby inside the smiling mom's body at different stages of development, which could be alarming depending on your kiddo's tastes/tolerances. But the book has a story which covers the pre-birth period as well as the shortly afterward period - we bring the baby home and she's very little, she has a black piece of cord where her belly button will be (subject of much fascination), we are all a family, etc -- and the story wraps up with the big brother helping the baby to calm down by bringing her a toy.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:41 AM on June 3, 2011

I remember The Bernstein Bears New Baby. It was the book my parents gave me when my sister was born. Big Brother bear gets a new bed while his crib goes to his little sister and Papa Bear talks to him about the "responsibilities" of being an older brother and what that means.
posted by Fizz at 4:50 AM on June 6, 2011

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