Baby book reviews
You call this a horse?
You call this a horse? You invent a four-feathered fiffer-feffer-feff on the previous page, and you call THIS a HORSE?
“Motherhood is basically reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom into infinity,” my friend Carrie warned in a post earlier this year.
I wasn’t there yet. At the time, my pediatrician had recommended reading to my newborn daughter, which felt ridiculous. I dutifully turned the pages while she paid no mind. I’d asked for books inscribed to her for my baby shower, which I realized was silly, seeing as how long it would be until she enjoyed them. Would she ever love reading as much as I do? I steeled myself to accept the answer could be no.
Let me tell you: Indoctrination works. Now she hands me board books 18 times a day. While her first favorites were big on texture and low on plot (like “You Must Never Touch a Spider,” which counterintuitively made all the bugs fun to touch), she has started requesting “Dr. Seuss’s ABCs” and “Brown Bear,” and turns the pages impatiently to get to her favorite one.
As a new member of the baby literati, I have notes.
Excuse me? No matter what shortcomings you imagine you have, take comfort in the knowledge you’ll never be as bad as the parents in “Carl’s Christmas.”
From “The Foot Book” (?):
If they’re so well, shouldn’t they be juggling with their feet? (taps temple.gif)
In “Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb”:
To me, this is the most terrifying page in all of literature.
My mom used to tell me after spending time with young kids, you’ll find yourself attempting an adult conversation, yet all you’ll hear while the other party’s mouth is moving is, “The wheels on the bus go round and round. Round and round.”
Except for me, the earworm goes: Monkeys hum and monkeys drum. Hum drum hum drum drum drum drum.
My own reading list piles up. Since COVID, I’ve shopped at my favorite secondhand book store The Book Lady even more than usual (and it’s still the safest-run business I’ve come across.) I’ve snapped up art books and holiday gifts, ordered memoir and novels I’ve always wanted to read. I can’t get through any of them. Even essays and short-story collections — Ann Patchett, Curtis Sittenfeld, Jia freakin’ Tolentino — are one and done. Nonfiction? Forget it.
They’ll just have to wait. For now, “Mr. Brown Can Moo” is about all I can manage. Julia’s eyes shine as she claps along. She lets me know she admires my spot-on cork-popping sound by reaching her hand out to my lips. She might enjoy the theatrics and narrative flourishes more than the story arc, but that’s ok. It won’t be long now until she asks for “Madeline.”