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The New Baby at Your House

by Joanna Cole
Photographed by Margaret Miller

Published by Morrow, 1998
48 pages
ISBN: 0-688-13898-5

Ages 2 - 5

The new and revised edition of a critically acclaimed book first published in 1985 makes a number of significant changes to the original. Superb color photographs by Margaret Miller have replaced the black-and-white photos by Hella Hammid in the first edition, giving the book a much updated look. Like Hammid, Miller uses several racially diverse families as her models; happily this feature that seemed so revolutionary in 1985 is taken for granted 13 years later. But here the photos have become more integral to the book as a whole, sometimes extending across a double-page spread to show us a baby who's nearly life-size. Cole has made many changes to the text, streamlining it to make it more accessible to the two and three year olds who are the book's main audience. Most welcome of all is her focus on Michael's dad, who seems to be the primary caretaker of Michael and his baby brother, Peter. In fact, throughout the book, fathers are seen engaged in all aspects of parenting from changing diapers to settling sibling disputes. In addition to Michael, we see how older siblings Molly, Julie, and Sara react and interact with the new babies in their households, while Cole provides basic information about infants and reassures their siblings that it's okay to have mixed emotions. The author's lengthy note to parents expands on the emotional impact of a new baby on a young child and offers helpful advice on how parents can make the transition easier. CCBC categories: Understanding Oneself and Others (KTH; May 18)  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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