Archive for the ‘baby’ Category

Good Enough is the New Perfect

Good Enough is the New PerfectI’ve been reading Hollee and Becky, as they are known on Twitter, for many months now, and they never fail to impress me.  Whether the topic is going back to work or giving up the guilt, they’re always there with an encouraging word.

Their new book, “Good Enough is the New Perfect,” brings their experiences interviewing over a hundred working mothers – and surveying over 800 more – about work, life, mothering, breathing space, and striving for the best that we can possibly be into a compact, easily digestible book that is a must for anyone beating themselves up over motherhood.  Or work.  Or the combination.

The book has hundreds of examples and showcases just as many ways of making it work.  It’s this decade’s compendium of how we’re making it work, and it’s a great read, browse, or just-carry-around-because-you’re-so-busy-book.  Check it out.  Take a breath.  And realize – you are working hard, and you can achieve great things.

Perfect is optional.

Disclosure: I was sent this book to review by Hollee and Becky (or their publicist – who remembers?); I received no compensation for this post.  Which is good, because it’s about two months late. 🙂

Mystery novels featuring new mothers

Bundle of TroubleLook what I found at Type A Mom!  Bundle of Trouble, by Diana Orgain, is a mystery novel featuring a brand-new mom trying to balance her own interests and goals with the chaos of new motherhood.  The book was light but engaging, and every detail rang absolutely true with this mom of two – work-life balance isn’t easy, and this book sure tells the truth about how difficult it can be to care for a newborn and strike out on your own to create a job that gives you the work-life balance you need.

I bought the book myself, at the conference market, and received no compensation for this post.

Hooray for Hands!

There are a lot of books out there for babies.

A lot.  I was never a fan of the one word per page, brightly colored object, or black-and-white pattern books (or mobiles) for kids.  My perspective is that the world is stimulating enough, and books are for stories.  Compelling stories.  Magical stories, even for tots.

I have lived that belief, reading my children wonderful stories by classic authors, with arcs appropriate for their age, but still, full of details and dialogue, characters and conundrums, puzzles for them to solve as soon as they were big enough to ask me, “Why, Mommy?”

But I know that there are different schools of thought on this, and so today I bring you the Begin Smart series from Sterling books.  Sterling recently sent me a box of books including “Animal Faces,” which is indeed a set of animal faces with a single word, “Look Around and Listen,” a book with a single illustration and a single sound on each page, “Baby Says,” a set of cards on a teether ring in the same genre, “How Many Beeps?” a truck book that helps baby count to five, and “Hooray for Hands,” a book aimed at 18-24 month olds with a little more “meat” to it.

Hooray for Hands is a very cute book, with engaging illustrations and a simple message.  It has charming rhymes and wordplay, rhythm and ideas, and positive, empowering messages, the kinds of things that I look for when I’m choosing books for my children, at even the youngest ages.  The emphasis on all the things that hands (and, by extension, toddlers) can do was great, and made my preschooler feel proud of all the things that hands can do.  This board book is a nice, well-thought-out addition to anyone’s gift list for 18-30 month olds.

As for the other ones?  I passed them on immediately to a friend in the blogosphere (and real life) who I know could use them more than me.  Because that’s the way I roll.

Disclosure:  Sterling Books sent me a box of books this fall for possible review. I am never compensated for reviews, nor do publishers, authors, or marketers have any control over what I write.

Tickle Tut’s Toes

Mmmm, new books.

When Widget was born, our friend Canape sent us the best possible baby gift … books. One of them was about baby kisses, one was about Mommy’s love, and one was called Feed Matisse’s Fish. Which was kind of funny. Because we didn’t even have any fish. And I’m not exactly the artsy type. But, and I don’t know how she knew this, it was to become a favorite. This simple book, just eight board book pages, was an intriguing introduction to art for my son. While I read to him, he could touch the art, tracing the glasses on the man in American Gothic, tugging the girl’s braids on (what else?) Girl with Braids, and feeling the rough basket in The Flower Carrier. And we would return to them, over and over, until part of the background of his childhood became these paintings, and the Mini Masters board books focusing on single artists. (Quiet Time With Cassatt is another favorite, as is In the Garden With Van Gogh.)

Imagine my surprise when I opened a package last week to find Tickle Tut’s Toes, the latest in — guess what — a series of these art books written and embellished just for toddlers and preschoolers.  The book is, just like Feed Matisse’s Fish, an oversize board book, with cut outs, simple embellishments, and textures that emphasize detail in the paintings, statues, sarcophagi, and other art forms in the book.  Tickle Tut’s Toes is the latest in the series, and it focuses on — get this — historical art, and artifacts from ancient Egypt.  The child-friendly rhymes share the page with Egyptian wall paintings from Luxor, King Tut’s sarcogphagus, a 3500 year old glass bottle fish, a blue sphinx, a 3000-4000 year old mummified crocodile, and more.  The last page is my favorite. Across from a classic photo of three pyramids of Giza, the middle one tantalizingly replaced with corregated cardboard, is a simple rhyme.

Have you ever seen a kid
Touch a pyramid?
You just did.

Rock and roll.

Tonight, we read Catch Picasso’s Rooster, from the same series. I can’t wait.

Disclosure: Sterling books sent me these two books to review.

Leave a comment on last week’s Sid the Science Kid post to win a Sid the Science Kid DVD set for your very own!

Shampoo for tots

This just in: probable carcinogens found in children’s bath products. Like, a lot of them. More info at The Washington Post and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Those of you who never, ever thought you’d see a reference to cosmetics on my blog may now laugh uproariously.

But then, let’s get serious about reducing our exposure to many of these cancer-causing chemicals, ‘k?

Go, go, go!

Go, go, go! by Roxie Munro is quite possibly the best lift-the-flap book we’ve ever read here at Review Planet. The book has just a few words, but over 70 flaps, and it’s really quite amazing what she’s done with the format.

This book breaks new ground (to my knowledge, at least) in the way that it uses flaps to tell a story, even without many words. There are flaps on nearly every page, oriented to show action in the corresponding direction. There are nested flaps that reveal a mini-story, unfolding flaps that show a hot air balloon (for instance) inflating step by step on the ground, and another that lifts into the air, far above the top of the book. There’s a multifolded flap that shows a fire truck racing to a scene (horizontal fold out) and then lifting its ladder (vertical fold out) to rescue people on the top story of a tall building. There are layers of flaps and sub stories throughout this entertaining lift the flap book, and the creativity amazed my boys as we turned page after page after page, “reading” the stories. The last page, far from being a disappointment, is a feast of flaps, hidden under two large flaps that fold out to reveal a minature racetrack. Each of the eight or so flaps underneath (I’d tell you the exact number, but I’d have to wake my kids, who are napping with the book) has racecars on front and racecars inside; the effect as you turn the flap is that the cars are racing along right in front of you.

The book is printed on high-quality paper with entertaining illustrations and a good attention to detail. The illustrations are detailed enough that a number of stories can be told with the pictures, and the book also lends itself easily to reading games like “count the fire helmets,” “what are those workers doing?” and “where are the number 3s in this picture?”

Go, go, go! is a new favorite of ours, and I thank the folks at Sterling Books for sending me a copy to review. The book was such a favorite of my 2 and 4 year olds that I think I’ll head to Amazon to grab another copy to have on hand for birthdays.

Bright Buddies

As a rule, my kids don’t do stuffed animals.  As in, they avoid them like the plague.  But Widget does have a favorite puppy dog, and Little Bear coos and snuggles (for about 30 seconds) occasionally, before they hop back up and run around the room.

We have a new favorite — the Bright Beginnings Bright Buddies Activity Doll, made by Russ kids.  This little (10″) guy comes dressed in the cutest little overall set, with buttons and zippers and velcro, and puffy shoes with long red laces to tie in knots or bows.

There’s always something to do with this guy, and always a new skill to learn.  Even my 4 year old uses it to learn to tie his shoes.  Such a cute toy!

Thanks, Russ, for sending these to the SVMoms to review.  I’ve been looking for a modern-day “Dapper Dan” doll … and it looks like this is today’s equivalent!