I’ve been given my first “review copy” of a book. A free book for blogging about! I’m giddy with excitement. Now to write about it.
The book is Sounds of a Coo by Kelly Lambert and it is a collection of poems meant to be the point of view of a baby just learning to explore the world. Some of the poems describe touchingly cute moments like a baby reaching up to touch a cat, grabbing the tail or two baby cousins sitting looking at each other. The baby cousins poem reminds me of when I first took my four month old to visit relatives in another province and the cousins attempted to stick their fingers in each others mouths.
On the back of the book is written the books premise:
The sound of a Coo is very special.And if we really take time to hear,We will soon learn about the world you seeAnd how to you it may appear.So listen very closely when your baby starts to coo.They are telling you about the wonders of life, which to them are very new.
That said, to me the voice of the poems was not a convincing voice of a baby. The poems talked about delight and the newness of things, but they portray the things as fully formed ideas. A poem titled “First Food” speaks of jars of baby food and says “I didn’t have any restraints” and “I enjoy eating the food you eat – it’s all so very new” as though a child would have any idea about restraints or associate the jars of canned baby food with what adults eat. To me babies are not new adults who can’t say out loud all that they think. I believe they think differently, and when I read the description of the book I had hoped the book would attempt to capture some of that difference.
Mommy, when I’m older, show me the starsLets lie on a blanket, and you can point out Mars
The voice in the poem is more an adult projection of the spirit of childhood. A baby doesn’t have a clue what it means to be older or what mars is, but we as a society have certain ideas about what children want and need. The focus is very much on the idea that babies see everything with excitement and love. They want to be held, cared for, talked to and have a chance to explore. The author has a degree in Child Development and Family Studies and I suspect her target is “at-risk mothers” who might have difficulty having empathizing with their little ones.
When I read the poems to my four year old, I was forgetting to read the titles, so he made a game of figuring out what the poems were talking about. Who or what does “you” refer to? (Answers include the sun, hands, daddy and grandparents.) He liked that, and he liked thinking about how a child would see things. Yes, a child would look with love and delight at those around him. We talk all the time about how much his little sister’s face lights up when she sees him just as the baby in the poem gets excited at the sight of his family.
The pictures of the books are very clear, slightly comic, and my 22 month old daughter loves them and uses them to practice her few words. The parents and children illustrated show all different ethnicities, which I think is a definite plus.