LOVE the BABY
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LOVE THE BABY
written by Steven L. Layne
illustrated by Ard Hoyt

Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.
ISBN: 1-58980-392-
$15.95
Ages: 0-5

                                       “Help me love the baby!” “Help me love the baby!”  Everybody said it. Mama said it. Papa said it. Even Nana said it. Can you believe Nana said it too? Little Rabbit was happy when Baby came home from the hospital. Who wouldn’t be? Little babies are pretty exciting, especially when you’ve waited for nine months for that little brother or sister to arrive. Most children think  - instant playmate! But when Baby came home from the hospital on that day that the flowers were blooming, Little Rabbit realized that the Baby was no playmate – no playmate at all! He couldn’t do anything - unless you counted crying. He did that plenty well. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, Mama and Papa and Nana, yes, even Nana, gave Baby all of their attention. So what would you expect? How could Little Rabbit love the baby? Jealousy abounded! Frustration swelled! Anger overwhelmed! His world turned upside down when his new baby brother arrived.

I’m the oldest of four younger siblings, so I am an expert on sibling rivalry. My world turned upside down four times, so I understand exactly how Little Rabbit was feeling. You would think I would have gotten used to it, but I didn’t – well . . . not until the last baby arrived. I was a lot older too, already thirteen, when my youngest sister, Sanner, came home from the hospital. I think my maternal instincts were in place by then and I loved having her around – still do! I think Little Rabbit’s tender instincts were aroused when late one night no one heard Baby crying – but he did. When he tiptoed into Baby’s room and tummy-tickled him just like Mama had tummy-tickled him when he was a baby, and when he sang the scrub-a-dub song to Baby and Baby sang along, and when Little Rabbit read his very favorite book to Baby and Baby fell softly to sleep, Little Rabbit knew he didn’t have to pretend anymore. Little Rabbit knew that he really did love the Baby! And what’s more – he knew Baby loved him, too.

Look for a complete review of this book at Smartwriters.com

FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

Everybody kept saying, “Love the baby.” to the baby’s big brother,” said Jane.

Sarit shook her head. “ . . . Like the rabbit’s family, his neighbors, and his friends,” she said.

“Even his mom said, “Help me love the baby,” said Melia.

“Yeah,” said Sarit. “The rabbit was getting really tired of everyone saying, ‘Love the baby.’ It’s almost like forcing him to love the baby, and he shouldn’t be forced to love anyone.”

“The rabbit felt sad that his family was going ga-ga over the new baby,” said Jewel. “He felt left out of the family.”

“Right!” said Melia. “The big brother rabbit’s grandma sang his favorite rub-a-dub bath time song to the baby AND his mommy was sitting in his favorite chair tickling the baby.”

“It’s always exciting to have a new family member,” said Ethan, “especially a brother or sister.”

“But, Rabbit felt the baby was taking his spot in the family,” complained Pritka “which has happened to me . . . four times. Sure, they are cute, but . . .”

“But sometimes it gets annoying,” agreed Julia.

Ethan looked like he understood completely. “And sometimes you feel jealous – like you’re getting no attention,” said Ethan.

“Ohhh . . . Rabbit was jealous, alright” said Timmy.

“My family paid more attention to the babies than to me,” said Pritka. “I felt like nobody loved me anymore.”

“That’s called sibling rivalry,” explained Ethan.

“It reminds me of my little brother,” said Sarit. “And, you’re right, Pritka, sometimes the big kids do get pushed aside.”

“I’m sure there are other readers out there who have the same issues,” interjected Ethan. “If they’re not an only child, that is,” he added.

Becky said, “This book is like my sister and me. When my sister came home, she was really cute, but as she got older . . .”

 “Mmm, huh, said Sarit cutting Becky off. “I can relate to that. In this book the older rabbit is being mean to his little sibling . . . “

“Yeah, like when Rabbit kicked the blocks because he was mad,” said Pritka. “I remember when I got so mad, I ripped my math homework,” she said.

Sarit nodded. “Sometimes, I don’t really like my little brother around,” she said. “But sometimes I really just want to hug him.”

Melia sighed with relief. She said, “I didn’t have to go through the mess the big brother rabbit had to go through.” Then she giggled.

Jake, an only child, sat quietly. He seemed to be reflecting on the story and his friends’ comments. Then he raised his finger in the air. “This could really be true,” he said.

Timmy nodded. “Kids should read this book if they have a baby.”

Becky thought for a moment. “Babies can be a lot of work,” she said. “But we all love them!”

“ Love the baby!” said Nina and Jane together and then they started to giggle.

TEACHER TALK

SING to BABY! SING! Nursery Song Book: Reading/Language Arts

Everyone loves a new baby. They are cute and cuddly and oh so soft, but to an older sibling, that new big brother or sister, a new baby can be a surprise. They are not as much fun as they were expected to be. They can’t do much of anything, except maybe gurgle. So I say gurgle right along with them.

1. Write the lullaby lyrics on chart paper.
2. While pointing to each word have children practice reading the words out loud.
3. Then type the lyrics to the nursery rhyme song or
     lullaby into your word processor, using a large font for easier reading. Choose from the list   
     below or use your own favorites.
4. Punch holes in the papers with a three-hole punch and have each child keep a copy in a
    three-ring binder.
5. Children practice reading these songs during free choice time in class and at home each
    evening with their parents.
6. They will quickly learn the words and soon will be crooning to any little person they can find.

Ex.:
Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall
And down will come baby, cradle and all

Other favorites of mine are:

All the pretty horses
Are you sleeping?
Bye baby bunting
Hush little baby
Itsy bitsy spider
Rock-a-bye baby
Sleep, baby, sleep
Twinkle, twinkle little star

SUGGESTED WEBSITES:
(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

Welcoming a New Baby Into Your Family
Jealousy and Fighting
New Baby Jealousy

SUGGESTED BOOKS:

Julius, the Baby of the World written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
What Baby Wants written by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Jill Barton
Good as Goldie written by Margie Palatini
You're the Boss, Baby Duck written by Amy Hest, illustrated by Jill Barton
I'd Rather Have an Iguana written and illustrated by Heidi Stetson Mario
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All contents copyright (c) 2002. Donna O'Donnell Figurski.
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