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Picture Book Review: The Very Tiny Baby

As a mother with children who were born premature, The Very Tiny Baby by Sylvie Kantorovitz (Charlesbridge, 2014) caught my attention. It's a topic I've often thought of exploring in a picture book and naturally I was curious to see how this author broached the subject. Brilliantly, in my opinion. Just the right amount of fact, honesty, and story woven together.

Jacob and his teddy bear Bob, Jacob's alter ego, are waiting the arrival of a new sibling. His mother and father and grandmother are excited about the baby but Jacob has mixed emotions. He's not sure he's happy about it. "Bob says the baby will steal my toys." When the baby arrives too soon (premature), everybody is concerned about the baby surviving. Will it live? Jacob doesn't understand if the baby is in the hospital under constant care by a doctor and team of nurses why aren't his mother and father home taking care of him instead of Grandma. At one point, we hear Jacob's darkest thoughts "I think we should give the baby away. I wish the baby would die."

Through Jacob's good and bad thoughts, we understand his worries "I want to be the only one again" and watch his transformation as he understands the obstacles the tiny baby faces, learns to forgive his parents, and ultimately embraces the role of big brother.

I think this author's brave candid approach will allow for open discussions within families as they prepare for new siblings especially ones born premature. It reminds me of the honest conversations we had in our family with the birth of our premature children. The illustrations remind me of author/illustrator Lauren Child's Charlie & Lola series, full of expression and child-like. For ages 2 - 7.

About Me

I'm a children's writer and the former Assistant Regional Advisor for the Austin Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

I love blue sky days, endless cups of coffee and cuddly, cozy PJ's.

I'm represented by Erzsi Deàk of Hen & ink, A Literary Studio.

I'm a contributor to ReaderKidZ, a website devoted to fostering a love of reading in kids K-5.


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