Monday, July 31

7+ Awesome Books for Preparing Your Toddler for a New Sibling

Oh hi there! It's a been a while since I've posted here on Literary Hoots and the subject of this particular post is a big hint as to why—I decided to give myself a wee maternity leave due to the arrival of a new baby in the family. Now that I've (sorta, kinda) gotten back into the swing of things, I plan on posting regularly once again. Thanks for sticking around!

Little Big Girl
Written and illustrated by Claire Keane
Dial Books (November 8, 2016)

I can't help but love this one. The whimsical illustrations, the darling little girl, the cute just makes me want to grab my kids and cuddle hard core (*squeeze!*). Yes, it's very adorable, to the point where it's really not too realistic (ahh, if only older siblings could adjust so sweetly and perfectly), but it sure makes me appreciate the good times. Besides being cute, it usefully highlights how older siblings can be helpful and how roles may change. It's great for a range of ages—kids and adults both will like it. Younger toddlers, however, may not have the patience or appreciation to sit through the whole book, however. This is my favorite on the list. My toddler on the other hand...

Best Ever Big Sister
Written and illustrated by Karen Katz
Grosset & Dunlap (June 1, 2006)

This was my toddler's favorite. Karen Katz uses her signature style to help young tots learn about their older sibling skills. The best parts of this book, however, are the lift-the-flaps. What toddler doesn't love flaps?? Each page first outlines how baby does things (e.g. "My baby sister eats with her fingers") and then a lift of the flap reveals how big sister does things differently (..."But I can eat with a fork and spoon"). My daughter enjoyed interacting with the book flaps, the simple repeated/predictable storyline, and the bright & bold illustrations. I appreciated its celebration of my daughter's "big kid" status, especially now at a time where yearning to be the baby again can make things tough for her. Check this one out for your toddlers. (There's also a Best Ever Big Brother)

I'm a Big Sister
Written by Joanna Cole, illustrated by Rosalinda Kightley
HarperFestival (January 5, 2010)

This one's an oldie but a goodie. It's a bit long, but the simple, straightforward text was something even my squirmy daughter sat through in its entirety. While the illustrations aren't anything too special, the story itself is super useful and informative. Cole chooses to write a clear outline of what being an older sibling means—how to help mom and dad, ways to interact safely with baby, special big-kid talents, and a reminder that mom & dad still care. There's even an author's note at the end with even more helpful advice for parents. It's a great read to touch on several important aspects in the sibling-adjustment period. (There's also I'm a Big Brother)

You're Getting a Baby Brother
by Sheila Sweeny Higginson  (Author), Sam Williams (Illustrator)
Little Simon (February 7, 2012)

A simple, rhyming board book that gets straight to the point to tell your toddler: there's gonna be a lot of not so fun things about having a baby brother (e.g. "And you'd better watch out—or he'll pee in your eye!"). I appreciated this one, really, because it does get down to the nitty gritty. The previous books are pretty cute or helpful, while this one tells it like it is. He doesn't know how to share, he'll ruin things, and there's a lot of bodily fluids involved. But, in the end, the older sibling can choose to be the protective, guiding example. Good lesson, all in rhyme. The illustrations are pretty cute, too. Try this one out to encourage a good-example-older-sibling. (There's also You're Getting a Baby Sister)

The New Baby
Written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer
Random House (March 7, 2001)

I'm listing this one more as an example book: a familiar/beloved character is dealing with a new sibling—someone your child can relate to. In this case, I chose Little Critter, who learns what sorts of things are okay to do with his new little sister. Perhaps your family loves other characters and would enjoy Daniel Tiger, The Berenstein Bears, Olivia, etc. Go off who your toddler knows and loves, and see if there's a "new baby" book in their series. (Or I won't tell if you cheat, *cough*like I did*cough*, and just watch the "new baby" episode of Daniel Tiger.)

Waiting for Baby
Written and illustrated by Rachel Fuller
Child's Play International (April 2009)

Here's a great board book for the before-baby-comes aspect of life: in this case, an inquisitive toddler looks to help mom as she gets ready for the new baby. I appreciated the ideas this book had (especially the mom-is-napping-so-let's-be-quiet idea) and it's short, sweet, and colorful enough to keep a young tot's attention. Bonus: this book is in a series, so if you really like this author's style, you can read up on what happens after the baby comes and all that fun stuff with My New Baby and You and Me.

Little Miss, Big Sis
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
HarperCollins (June 16, 2015)

I'm tagging on this cute picture book here at the end because, while it's not necessarily the most informative book (it relies more on very simple, rhyming words, with a story told through the illustrations), it's an adorable story about the growing relationship between new siblings. From the day "big sis" finds out about the pregnancy to having a fun playmate, this is a sweet story that's perfect to have around for years of your kids' lives.

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