Skip to main content

Ready, Set . . . Baby by Elizabeth Rusch, illustrated by Qin Leng

With Ready, Set . . . Baby! Elizabeth Rusch has written an innovative book for soon-to-be-big-siblings aged three and up. Part story, with siblings Anna and Oliver narrating the story of life with a new baby, part practical "what to expect" and "how to" advice and instructions, and part graphic novel with lots of speech bubbles, Ready, Set . . . Baby! is a book can be (should be) read over and over, before and after the arrival of the new baby

What I love most (and appreciate as someone who reads picture books out loud) is the honest humor that Rusch infuses Ready, Set . . . Baby! with. Parents are prone to hyping the new baby to sibs before arrival, forgetting that children have a very different understanding of time than adults. Like Dad in the illustration above, asking the kids if they are excited for a new playmate. The reality of the situation is that the baby won't be a genuinely engaging playmate for a few years or more. In another smartly observant section titled, "Meet the Conehead," Anna and Oliver tell readers that the new baby DOES NOT look like their baby dolls. She has a "conehead and red, wrinkly skin with little bumps all over her face."

There are also realistic looks at baby poop, with Anna and Oliver copiloting the changing of the baby. They also tell readers about the umbilical cord and how it will fall off. Having three kids with significant age gaps, I especially appreciated the pages where Anna and Oliver tell readers that lots of gifts will arrive, but "don't get your hopes up," it's all for the baby. They also offer suggestions on what to do while "everyone stares at the baby." Ready, Set . . . Baby! also has Anna and Oliver offering great advice about how to hold the baby, how to understand the baby and know when she is hungry or sleepy or bored and four pages on how to entertain the baby - without touching her. The final pages are dedicated to bedtime routines for the big siblings and baby, followed by some helpful backmatter. Rusch includes tips for parents on "life with big kids and new babies," websites and books, including a favorite of mine, The Big Sibling Book: Baby's First Year According to ME by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, an fantastically talented, creative, diverse kid's (and adult) book author. I love guided journals and I think that a guided journal for big siblings is a superb way to include them in the life of the new arrival while also starting the bonds of a positive sibling relationship, which I learned in my years of parenting is not something that just automatically happens...

Source: Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…