CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 13 . . . .March 3, 2006
My First Year is a beautiful baby book from one of Canada’s best illustrators. Kady MacDonald Denton fills the pages of this wonderfully designed book with her trademark watercolour paintings of babies from all walks (crawls?) of life.
Included in the book are the standard fill-in-the-blanks “baby milestones” pages, and each information page has room for a photo on the facing page. Parents can record events from pre-birth (I first kicked at _____________ weeks.) to the child’s first birthday. These events range from baby’s first smile to baby’s first toothbrush, and there are places to record baby’s likes and dislikes (favourite bedtime songs, foods, words…). MacDonald Denton also includes a two-page spread for parents to write their own “Special Memories” at the back of the book.
It is nice to see a specifically Canadian baby book. There is room for an ultrasound scan picture (as opposed to the more American “sonogram”); when Mommy goes into labour, she does so with the “u” in its rightful place; and “On the Day I Was Born” includes a slot for Mom or Dad to note who the Prime Minister was and how much it cost for a litre of milk.
The book’s illustrations and design are sure to have parents-to-be and baby shower attendees drooling. MacDonald Denton’s sense of humour is evident throughout the book (not all the babies are happy and smiling), and there are many lovely details sprinkled throughout (birds, insects, fish) to keep the pages attractive without being too busy. She includes baby animals as well as human babies, and she also includes illustrations from some well-known children’s songs and rhymes (without the text of the rhyme, but they’re pretty obvious – Ring Around the Rosie, The Owl and the Pussycat, Little Boy Blue, etc.).
If the above features are not enough to sell this book, it can always fall back on its attractive “poofy” cover (there must be a technical name for that – upholstered? padded?), the lovely violet elastic to hold the book closed when it has been filled with photos, and the large and sturdy card envelope attached to the inner back cover to hold locks of hair and other small treasures.
Grace Sheppard is a Children’s Librarian with the Ottawa Public Library in Ottawa, ON.
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