Books and reading

Droll new series for babies – and parents: ‘Sleep 101’ & ‘Whine Guide’ by Beck & Matt Stanton

I had to consider the question of whether these books (no’s 1 & 2 in the Self Help for Babies series by husband and wife team Beck and Matt Stanton) were written for babies or adults. The answer, I’m certain, is both. A bit like the Shrek movies, these are humorous messages of support for stressed-out parents, cleverly disguised as short, read-aloud stories for the very young.

Other titles to follow in the series help to prove my point: Dummies for Suckers, One Ingredient Cookbook (for infants still breast or bottle feeding, I assume), and Baby Goes to Market. The first books explore two of the frustrations that parents of a baby will experience day to day: the challenges of getting an infant to sleep, and how to interpret your new baby’s cries.

Illustrated with very simple line drawings that manage to capture real life scenarios every new parent will recognise, they are tongue-in-cheek reassurance to hollow-eyed, exhausted parents wondering ‘Is it just me? Am I a terrible parent? Why won’t my baby sleep? What am I doing wrong?’

Here’s an example, from Whine Guide (Find your voice and start sweating the small stuff):

Do you have something to say but no voice to say it?
Do you have trouble matching the right whine to each occasion?
This whine guide is here to help.

The Whine Guide by Beck & Matt Stanton

Each double page spread then analyses, in a simple sentence, the various permutations of a baby’s cry, grizzle, whine or full-throated bellow, and pairs each one with the appropriate life occasion. For example:
‘The bubbly. An open-mouthed, gassy whine, requiring attention.
Best served with bicycle legs and a tummy massage.’

You get the idea. It’s a delight; something that could be read aloud to a baby while giving a wrung-out parent a much-needed chuckle.

These first two in the Self-Help for Babies series are published by HarperCollins and ABC Books in September 2020, with more available for pre-order.

My thanks to HarperCollins Children’s Books for copies to review.

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