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Books My Toddler Loves

Lulu and the Noisy Baby

Preparing for a new arrival Posted on 12 Nov, 2017 07:43PM

Lulu and the Noisy Baby by Camilla Reid (words) and Ailie Busby (illustration), published by Bloomsbury

We’ve written before about some of the many brilliant books that helped us and our elder daughter prepare for the arrival of her little sister. Now that she is four, and her sister is two, we’ve found it helpful at times to revisit these, and also others that are specifically about what it means to be a big sister.

One of our long-standing favourites, Lulu and the Noisy Baby is an interactive, reassuring and (in our experience) accurate depiction of becoming a big sister to a new baby. When we are first introduced to Lulu, we see her enjoying life as an only child – reading, painting, dressing up and having fun with her mummy. Clever flaps help us uncover Lulu from beneath her monster costume, and reveal her behind the window of her playhouse.

Lulu notices that her mummy’s tummy is growing, and her parents show her a picture of the baby scan – “I’m going to be a big sister” she says in delight. While mummy rests, we see her making a fairy castle with her daddy and then, a few weeks later, granny arrives to help out. That night mummy and daddy say “see you soon” as they depart for the hospital.

The next morning, Lulu and granny keep busy building towers (with a clever flap that opens up several times as the tower grows), playing pirates and hide and seek (behind the curtain flap). Then, just as granny has fallen asleep on the sofa as they watch a cartoon, Lulu “hears a noise” – “”Waaah” Waaah” Waaah” – and, as we look behind the door and lift up a flap on the baby basket her parents are carrying, we see her new baby brother smiling up at her.

She is happy to have a brother, showing him the princess castle, the cat, and helping to get him dressed. Here, a variety of flaps allow us to choose multiple options for his outfit for the day. Next, we are asked to help Lulu and her daddy find the ingredients for dinner, hidden behind a variety of flaps in the kitchen.

The book ends with scenes of Lulu having fun with her mummy and daddy, as well as some of the less fun aspects of having a little sibling (he can be noisy, and sometimes they quarrel) but he’s a great playmate too. Finally, with the help of a large flap against a height chart, we see Lulu and her brother grow from toddler and baby to school age children, and drawings on the wall showing them as great friends.

This delightful book is carefully crafted, with well thought-through interactive elements that remain engaging and fun after multiple reads, high quality card pages and an eye-catching glossy cover. The illustrations are bright and colourful, and the text is minimalist and easy to read. Happily, it’s one of a series and we look forward to joining Lulu for more adventures.

Pregnancy and New Baby Picturebooks

Preparing for a new arrival Posted on 26 Oct, 2015 09:48PM

Five weeks ago our second daughter was born. In the months leading up to her arrival we began introducing a variety of new picturebooks to our shelves and bedtime story routine that feature pregnancy, birth and new babies to help our daughter prepare for our new arrival.

There are many wonderful picturebooks that take on this theme. Below is a selection of six that we found enjoyable and helpful as a means to discuss with our daughter the momentus change that was to come, and to help explain the changes to mummy’s ‘tummy’ that were incrementally noticeable. We started including these reads soon after our daughter turned 2, about three months into pregnancy.

Miffy and the New Baby (Dick Bruna)

This was our first Miffy book. It’s distinctive illustrations combine with a gentle rhyme, depicting the lead up to and arrival of a new baby bunny to Miffy’s family. It’s useful for preparing children for the day or night when mummy and daddy have to be away for a time and how when they return they will bring a baby with them. It focuses on the pride that Miffy has at the new arrival, being the “big” sister and even baking celebratory cakes to take to school.

Aren’t You Lucky! (Catherine and Laurence Anholt)

This is a great option for helping toddlers understand their potentially mixed feelings about a new baby sibling. As the girl does here, they might have lots of people saying “aren’t you lucky!”, and yet they might not feel very lucky at all – they now have to share an often tired mummy and daddy, and the baby can’t even play or talk or do much at all.

But as baby grows so does the fun and soon there is lots for a big sister or brother to enjoy – including being a great helper with looking after their little sibling. As well as conveying a nice set of messages alongside pleasing illustrations, it is also helpful as an example of a picturebook that clearly depicts breastfeeding.

There’s Going to be a Baby (John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury)

This is a poetic tale of a pregnancy through the seasons. For us, the pregnancy for our second child seemed far quicker than the first, but for our toddler the wait for her baby sister may have seemed very long indeed. This book is helpful for depicting a pregnancy and the passing of time through a toddler’s eyes. It’s also amusing in its depictions of a newborn acting out adult jobs, which our daughter finds funny.

I Love You Baby (Giles Andreae and Emma Dodd)

We’ve reviewed this lovely book previously, but wanted to include it here too as it was also a frequent choice in recent months. With lovely pastel illustrations and a sweet rhyme about the many cute features of a new baby, it’s also ideal as an evening read, ending with a bedtime sequence where the toddler helps put baby to sleep.

15 Things Not to Do with a Baby (Margaret McAllister and Holly Sterling)

This is a bright and breezy picturebook filled with amusing scenes of what a toddler is not to do with their family’s new arrival. While some of the ideas are clearly just for fun (“don’t give your baby to an octopus to cuddle”), these are interspersed with some rather more sensible and practical limitations too (“don’t play your trumpet when your baby is trying to sleep”)!

Mummy, Mummy, What’s in Your Tummy? (Sarah Simpson-Enock and Linzi West)

A short, sweet read, with pleasing artwork and cute couplets proposing a variety of suggestions for what might be inside mummy’s growing tummy. Could it be a boat painted blue, or a birthday cake, or a big red balloon? It’s fun to all say “No!” together and then at the end to declare “It’s a baby!” when all is finally reveal