I’m so happy to share this beautiful book about a new baby joining the family! Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Born, by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Caldecott Honor Artist Jason Chin uses lively, rhyming text and colorful, touching illustrations to show both the baby’s growth before birth and the joy of her family as they prepare for her arrival.
There is so much to love about this book…where to start?? On the left page of every spread is a month-by-month depiction of the baby’s growth in utero. The images are realistic, but also touchingly beautiful. On the right side we see the baby’s family – mom, dad, and big sister – going about their lives: planting a garden, constructing a crib, leaving for the hospital. Excitement about this new life shines on all their faces. (My favorite illustration might actually be the one where the big sister meets her new sibling – she has the most perfect serious, pondering face.)
Miranda Paul’s text is lyrical and simple. It gives just enough detail to be exciting and intriguing, and yet is short enough that my 18-month-old will happily sit through it. I call that a win.
The “month six” spread, for example, shows mother and big sister sitting and talking to a bulging belly, with this precious text:
Ears that can hear.
Sing as she listens.
Tell her you’re near.”
After the story are four more pages of information, not counting the bibliography. The first two explain the hints Miranda Paul’s sweet text give about the wonders of this tiny person, lines like “Arms, legs..tail, too?” The next two pages include fun baby facts, baby animals, and a “What if…?” section which deals with twins, premies, and miscarriages, all with gentle grace.
Paul and Chin have treated this subject with such compassion and love. Honestly, this is a book I wish had been around for me to share with my kids as they became big brothers and sisters.