By Jenni Overend
Book Review By: Jen McKinnon, CD(DONA)
One of my favourite experiences as a mom is to listen to the stories that my kids tell. Being able to see from a child’s perspective is like seeing into a world that I orbit but can't enter. I get glimpses of that world and the curiosity of a child through this book. Hello Baby is the story of a birth through the eyes of Jack, a 5 year old boy. Jack takes us on a tour of a birth experience from laying out a bed in front of the fire, folding baby clothes with his Mum to watching Mum take a walk outside through a windy storm. In the story, Jack thinks to himself that, “If I was a baby listening to that wind, I'd want to stay inside Mum, floating in the warm water.”
I especially love how well the experience is explained to us through Jack. The combination of the calming colour tones in the illustrations and the thoughtful dialogue creates a story that would prepare any child for a new sibling. Jack has been told not to worry if Mum makes a lot of noise when the baby comes because that's what it's like when babies are born. I love how simple that statement is and yet how powerfully it prepares not only Jack but all the little children reading this book. Jack is told that Mum will feel better if she yells and screams. While Mum is yelling, the phone rings and Jack answers it. I love this part of the book because this is a scene that is so realistic. The illustration shows Mum surrounded by her husband, the older children and the midwife. Meanwhile the youngest, Jack, is on the phone but can't hear so he yells into the phone, “Mum's having a baby!” and the caller hangs up. Jack muses that if he heard all that noise he would hang up too!
I have read this story to my own children many times. They sit on my lap glued to the beautiful pictures and the calm flow of the story line. I love this book because it is a believable story and my kids like me to read it over and over again! I have read many books about the mechanics of birth but I will forever be drawn to this beautiful, simple and elegant birth seen through the eyes of a five year old.
ISBN 10: 1845070232
Jen McKinnon is a newly minted doula who lives with her husband and four children in Cochrane, AB