Toddler Tuesday: Big Sibling Books

Lucy and I have been reading a lot of books about babies and being a big sibling so I thought I would share a few of our favorites.

I'll admit that I'm pretty particular about the big sister things I've exposed Lucy to. Far to often the emphasis in this type of books is on how annoying the new baby is or how he/she takes all the attention and it isn't until the last page that the big sibling decides the baby isn't so bad. Which means you've just spent 10 minutes playing up the negative and 30 seconds on the positive. Now we've obviously never added a little sibling to our household before but the more seasoned mother's I've talked to have said to make sure to keep the emphasis on how much of a positive event it is for everyone in the family - not that the big sib won't have moments of jealousy and impatience, but don't give them the idea to start with. So that is my goal. And for right now at least, she is super-excited about the baby.

Hi, New Baby by Robie H. Harris

This is one of Lucy's favorites. It is fairly realistic in that it shows new babies can be loud, boring and sometimes even gross but I don't think it is overly negative either. It also helps us talk up the big sister role - she has teeth and the baby doesn't, she can feed herself but the baby can't, etc.
Happy Birth Day! by Robie H. Harris

I guess you could call this the prequel to Hi, New Baby. It's about a babies arrival, what happens and how the baby looks and acts and most importantly, is loved by everyone. It was helpful in talking to Lucy about how the baby might look kinda smushy and wrinkle, how the belly button would look funny at first, that sort of thing. It shows a mother nursing and a daddy cuddling the newly swaddled baby and both of those pictures are similar to ones we have of us with Lucy which she enjoys pointing out. It's funny though, one Amazon review complains that this is only a good book if your birth goes perfectly but another complains that it is too focused on hospital interventions. I think its in the middle - yes it talks about ankle bracelets and the doctors "quickly" cutting the cord but those things are pretty typical so I'm not going to complain - it is funny to hear Craig read this and add his commentary though ;-)

The Baby Dances by Kathy Henderson

Not strictly a big sibling book but it does show a sibling relationship as the baby grows and the illustrations make it pretty easy to talk about sibling things - look, the baby wants to crawl towards the brother's toys, do you think you will share things with the baby,etc. And the brother is obviously very loving towards his baby sister which is a plus. Sweet and a big hit with Lucy.

The New Baby by Mercer Mayer

I don't really like the little critter books but this one isn't too bad. It's pretty simply so I wouldn't use if for anyone other than the under 3 crowd, but it it works to show a bit more realistically what a new baby might be like - they can't play games with you or understand jokes but the do like to be cuddled and tickled.

What's Inside Your Tummy, Mommy

A non-fiction book about how a baby grows over the nine months it is inside the mommy's womb (but there isn't any information on how the baby gets there and the only reference to the birth is that the mommy pushes and it's hard work - which I think is all she needs right now). It's responsible for the upside down baby in tummy drawings Lucy's started up with and now Lucy can say womb which is adorable. We don't always read this through but often just look at the pictures and talk about it. She's probably on the low side of it's age range but still really enjoys it.

Baby Brother by Tanneke Wigersma - This was a Lucy selection that turned out to be great. Lovely illustrations and cute story. Mia is writting a letter all about how her cat was acting funny and ended up having kittens while you see mom preparing for a new arrival herself and actually having a home birth which is rare in children's literature (but it's not at all graphic though, don't worry).

A New Barker in the House by Tommie DePaulo - This isn't about the birth of a new "puppy" like I thought it was when I picked it up but instead is a cute book about how the Barker Family (there is a whole Barker series) adopts a 3 year old from another country. I don't have any first hand experience but I think this would be a great book for any "waiting siblings" or anyone hoping to expose their little ones to the idea of adoption in a positive way - which should be every family!

I don't recommend:

The Berenstain Bears's New Baby 

Not bad if you can stand the Berenstein Bears other books but not really much about the new baby so just not very helpful overall. And I probably shouldn't complain about realism in books about bears that talk and wear clothes but Ma and Pa could probably stand to do a better job preparing poor brother bear for major life changes - they don't tell him he is getting a new sibling to mere hours before she arrives and they don't tell him he is moving until the night before the moving van comes. Poorly done bear parents!

Angelina's Baby Sister

I bought this for 10 cents at a library sale but didn't really get a chance to read it. After reading it a handful of times to Lucy, I snuck it out during nap time. It's just a horrible example of what I mentioned above - lots of jealousy ending in a huge tantrum where Angelina throws all her books and toys with no discipline other than an ''Angelina!" She evens says she hates her sister and wishes she would go away (but I skip that line, why in the world would I want to even bring up that idea!). It isn't until the last page or two that all is resolved but that isn't redeeming enough. Skip!

Of course, we probably have time for a few more..any recommendations?


  1. I'm hoping to get my hands on "How to Be a Baby . . . by Me, the Big Sister" by Sally Lloyd-Jones. We read from the Jesus Storybook Bible, so I'm hopeful that it would be a good new baby book.

    My sister and I still had our copy of Berenstein Bears' New Baby, and I agree with your review. I haven't read a single Berenstein book as an adult that I would want my girls to own and read often. I remember loving the illustrations as a child, but now that I'm married, I don't want them to think that it's okay to talk about Papa so disrespectfully.

  2. I also dislike the Berenstein Bears now that I'm an adult. The way they don't have names and just go by family designation (which carries over into their chapter books!) makes them seem like they're in a cult or something.

  3. AR - Oh, our library actually has that one, I'll be putting it on hold today. (There are several other homebirth type books I'd like but never any available from our libary and I don't think we have time for interlibrary loan).

    Also, I'm glad I'm not alone in my BB dislike. Papa bear is not a good parental role model and yes, the names are weird...but why did Honey get a name instead of being called baby bear? It's all weird. It's funny how I see some things so differently as an adult.

  4. FYI - all the Angelina books are that bad. That mouse is just annoying, spoiled, and ridiculous. Avoid. Even from library sales. ;)

    One we like and read to the younger crowd (even when we don't have a baby on the way) is the Usborne book "Our New Baby". Very matter of fact, not too wordy, and sweet illustrations.

    We read the "How to Be a Baby...by Me, the Big Sister" last week. Kind of disappointing: very negative tone at the beginning. (Sort of like, "Sorry you're so stupid and can't do anything.") I had no idea it was by the Bible story book author. Not the same tone at all.