Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Not Sappy

Many of those "when you were born" books and those about parental love are just so, well, sappy.  So I was delighted to discover When I Was Born by Isabel Minhos Martins illustrated by Madelena Matoso.  This one focuses on the new child's discovery of her abilities and the world around her.  Any parent knows the amount a child learns in those first few years is just incredible and Martins puts it so, so well.  "My mouth was amazed to discover what it could do: screaming, laughing, calling things by their names, saying nice words and bad words, kissing and sticking my tongue out, tasting milk, soup, yogurt and fruit."  So much is encapsulated there - from the physical to the emotional to the social (knowing which words are bad and which are nice!).  I especially like how the book is narrated from the child's perspective, rather than the parent's.  And the illustrations are beautiful and different from any others I've ever seen in a children's book.

A new classic which I managed to miss, since it came out when I was too old to read it as a child and too young to read it as a parent, is Mary Murphy's I Like It When...   It is a celebration of the parent-child relationship as seen through the things the pair, a penguin parent (I've always assume, sexistly, a mother, although the parent is never identified by gender) and child (also with its gender unidentified) do together.  Also told from the child's perspective, the list includes the typical ("I like it when you read me stories.") and the slightly more unusual ("I like it when you let me help.")  This one is going on to my baby-present book list.

What are your favorite books about babyhood and parental love?

1 comment:

  1. Father of daughters who will grow up and get marriedAugust 17, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    Its a small part of the book, but the epilogue of Knufflebunny Free where the author Mo Willems writes (presumably to his own child) something about looking forward to see the child grow up, get married, etc. is very sweet.

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