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donnaodonnellfigurski.com - BABY BLAH

Baby, Baby Blah Blah Blah!
Written by Jonathan Shipton
Illustrated by Francesca Chessa

Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
ISBN: 0823422135
Ages: 4 to 8
Review and Lessons Plans by Donna O’Donnell Figurski

When Emily learned that she was no longer going to be the only child, she started making lists. That’s what Emily does. She makes lists for everything … especially when her life turns upside down. I totally understand. I am the queen of list-making. It helps to keep my life in order. I guess it helps Emily too.

Emily’s lists showed the pro and cons of having a baby brother or sister. Babies are soft and “snuffly.” That’s good. You can feed babies mushy foods. Yum! Yum! You can tickle them and swoosh them through puddles. Fun! But what about when they cry? Everyone knows that babies cry for everything. They cry when they are hungry, when they are tired, and when the unthinkable happens … diapers. They really bawl then.  Peeeew!

It wasn’t, though, until Emily thought about the baby taking her place in her family that she got really worried. What would happen to her world when it was baby this and baby that; when everyone went gaga for the new baby? What happened when they forgot about her?  It was bound to happen. She knew it! It would be baby, baby blah, blah, blah -- all the time.

Baby Baby blah, blah, blah! written by Jonathan Shipton and illustrated by Francesca Chessa is a fun book that will help to ease the fears and anxieties of many youngsters who find themselves in Emily’s place. (And many of us did at one time in our lives. It happend to me four times.) It will help reassure children that they will always be special in their parents’ lives, even though there may be new “babies” on the way. No … that was not a slip. Twins! Emily’s worries just doubled.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters.
FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“There was a girl named Emily,” said Danae.

“She made lists,” said Rena.

Caden nodded. “Emily loved to make lists,” he said.

“She made good list and bad lists,” explained Diego.

Daisy said, “Then one day Emily’s mom said …”

“… The “B” word,” interrupted Diego.

Daisy rolled her eyes at Diego. “… That they were going to have baby,” she continued. “A baby,” she repeated.

“So, Emily made lists about good and bad things about babies,” said Tala.

“She wrote good things … like you could swish them around puddles,” said Juliana with a laugh.

“Nice stuff!” announced Diego.

“The other list said that babies cry when they have to go to the bathroom,” said Rosie.

“Babies cry for everything,” announced Mark.

“Bad stuff!” Diego called out again

“ They really do cry,” said Juliana, “Over everything! And their food is disgusting!” she added. “A baby eats gross, mushy food. I had to eat mushy food, too,” she moaned.

“When Emily heard that they were going to have a baby, she did not like it,” said Mikaela.

“She thought that it would blah, blah, blah and cry too much,” Juliana said.

“Emily wanted to be to be the only child in the family,” said Caden.

Diego nodded. “Right!’ he said. “She doesn’t have any brothers or sisters.”

“And she didn’t want to have a baby sister or a brother,” said Tala.

“Because Emily felt jealous,” explained Lucy.
“Yeah … she thought that her parents would not have enough time for her,” said Tala.

“She thought that her mom and dad would love the baby more than her,” agreed Lucy.

“It happened to me when I had a baby brother,” explained Rosie.  “I felt a little upset. But I always knew that my mom would love me the same way as my brother.”

“Emily liked being an only child,” Callie explained.  “Because she got to do what she wanted.”

Abby shook her head. “Well, I don’t like to be an only child,” she said. “I really like someone around.”

“At my home there are seven kids,” said Danae. “I like having sisters and brothers.”

“I have a brother but I would like a to have a baby sister,” said Callie.

“I want a baby sister, too,” said Juliana. “Because I like to hold babies and feed them. I practice on my dolls.”

“I wish my mother could have another baby,” mused Danae.

“They are cute,” agreed Lucy.

“Well, I don’t think that Emily should be worried,” Danae said.

“Right!” said Mikaela. “Emily should know that when she was a baby, she had to be taken care of, too. Emily’s mother is going to have to spend more time with the baby.”

“Yeah,” agreed Lucy. “A baby will take up her mom and dad’s time.”

“But, I think her parents are going to love them equally,” said Mikaela.

Juliana took a few seconds to think that over, then blurted. “I still don’t want my mom to have a baby.”

Everyone giggled – including Juliana.


Memory Lane:
Language Arts/Social Studies

Kids like babies. Well, just about everybody does. What’s not to like? After all they are cute and cuddly – except when they are not. Think diapers! As Emily pointed out babies cry a lot … and they do spit up and dribble. But we were all babies once in our lives and a trip down memory lane will conjure up some funny and maybe embarrassing stories. So start conjuring!

Have children ask their parents about some of the capers the children did as babies
 – or toddlers. Have them gather as much information as they can. Then they will write a Memory Lane story. The stories will be compiled into a book and each child will receive a book of all of his or her classmates’ capers.

  • Have each child choose his or her favorite “caper.”  Then have him or her write one to five sentences, depending on ability, about their chosen caper.
  • Sample stories below.
    • When I was a baby, I swam in my kiddy pool with my pet duck. His name was Herbie.
    • When I was a baby, I hated to eat spinach. I smeared it all over my face and rubbed it in my hair. It was yucky, but it was fun too. I looked like a green-slime monster.
    • When I was a toddler, I used to take apart the coffee pot. Then I would put it back together. I played with the coffee pot for hours.
  • When the children are finished writing their stories, type each child’s story into the computer and print it.
  • Compile the children’s stories to make a story collection.
  • Copy the set of stories to make a booklet for each child.
  • Use colored construction paper to make book covers and staple the story collection into book format.
  • Give each child a story collection booklet.
  • Have the children write the title, MEMORY LANE by ______ (their name) on the cover.
  • Have them illustrate each story in the booklet.
  • When the project is completed, have each child read his or her story in a circle-time story share.
It’s List Time: Language Arts/Writing

People make lists for everything. Sometimes they make lists of foods to buy at the grocery store. Some make lists of things to do. Lots of children make lists for Santa or long, hopeful birthday lists. Lists are helpful. They help us to remember things. They help to keep our lives in order. And for Emily, lists helped to sort out the pros and cons of having a new baby brother or sister. Lists can be fun to make, too. I like to keep lists of my favorite books. No surprise there!

The following activity can be adapted to whatever topic you wish. Why don’t you make a list of all the possible topics for your children to work on? What an idea!

“It’s List Time!” Children will love to hear those words.

  • Give each child a roll of cash register tape.
  • Have them keep it in their desks for easy and quick access.
  • You can find cash register tape at Staples or any office supply store.
  • Then have the children start to make random lists or tie the list-making in with the curriculum you are teaching. See possibilities below.
  • Language Arts
    • nouns, verbs, synonyms, words with two syllables
  • Math
    • number words, shapes, money, measurement tools
  • Science
    • matter – solids, liquids, gases
    • farm animals, wild animals, flowers, types of weather, planets
  • Social Studies
    • states, inventors, countries, places in the community, holidays
  • Art
    • color words, famous artists, favorite picture book covers
  • Music
    • instruments, types of dance, song titles
Watch as your children’s vocabularies grow … and Grow … and GROW!

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

Preparing Siblings for the Baby
Welcoming A New Baby Into Your Family
Two Babies Dress-Up Game

You’re The Boss, Baby Duck! written by Amy Hest, illustrated by Jill Barton
Arthur’s Baby written and illustrated by Marc Brown
The Baby Sister written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
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All contents copyright (c) 2002. Donna O'Donnell Figurski.
No content may be copied or reproduced in any way without the express permission of the creator.
Clip Art courtesy of GraphicGarden.com

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