When your kid learns they’re going to be a big brother or sister, there are a lot of stages of grief they go through before acceptance. Maybe they’re bargaining with your wife to leave the baby at the hospital and in return they’ll eat raw broccoli. Maybe they’re in denial they won’t have their own room for much longer. But instead of letting them wrestle with the idea of sharing their parents, start reading them books to get them more comfortable with the idea. Besides, real rivalry won’t start until years after you’ve boxed up the picture books.
The book follows aspiring artist, and middle child, Ramon. Like many inbetweeners, his dreams are mocked by his older brother (hey, somebody needed to tell him those drawings lacked realism). Ramon is crushed and destroys his works — but not in a cool, Jackson Pollock way. Just when he’s ready to give up, his sweet younger sister swoops in with a few encouraging words. Those paintings don’t have to perfect, they can be ish. As in tree-ish. Or vase-ish. If only your boss would accept on time-ish.
Ish by Peter H. Reynolds ($10)
Little Frog’s Tadpole Trouble
There’s no guidebook for no longer being the center of attention. But, there is a book about a little frog who is about to be the big brother to a tadpole (and, herpetologically speaking, probably thousands of them). No wonder this frog is freaking out. The book outlines just a few of the new responsibilities, toy sharing, and other courtesies that your kid is going to have to be on board with.
Ages: 2 – 4
Little Frog’s Tadpole Trouble by Tatyana Feeny ($15)
Benny and Beautiful Baby Delilah
This book is another take on the mixed emotions that come with new siblings. Benny can’t stand his new baby sister and all her annoying baby habits (like existing). One night she’s crying so much that Benny decides he’s got to do something drastic to remedy the situation. And no, it’s not evil, it’s heartwarming. You’re probably thinking of The Omen.
Benny and Beautiful Baby Delilah by Jean Van Leeuwen ($5)
Archie likes robots, football, and playing cowboy. Which means he’s not down with that baby growing inside his mommy (unless it turns out to be an android quarterback). He’s also not too thrilled with all the pink crap in mom’s old office, which he takes as a direct challenge to the early heteronormative ideas he’s formed in his comically-oversized head. Not to worry though, little sister Olive looks like a marshmallow and now there’s twice as many toys.
Ages 3 – 6
Olive Marshmallow by Katie Saunders ($15)
Wolfie The Bunny
Wolfie The Bunny isn’t just about a family of rabbits takes a baby wolf left on their doorstep and raises them as their own. It also teaches your kid what happens when you have a little faith in people (or predators). Also, who are you to say this didn’t happen at least once in nature? Of course things get heated when the bunny family’s daughter, Dot, thinks they’ve all gone mad and are doomed to get eaten. But still, Dot thinks that the wolves are coming to take away their bunny guns and bunny jobs.
Ages: 3 – 6
Wolfie The Bunny by Ame Dyckman ($12)
What Brothers Do Best
Author Laura Numeroff, the mastermind behind If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, shows the sweeter side of brotherhood. In this book, anthropomorphic animal bros help each other climb trees, swing, and scarf party subs. This all probably happens occasionally with brothers, but it’s pretty clear that Numeroff only had sisters (the book is dedicated to them … ironically?). Not one noogie, wedgie, or traumatic time they said “forgot” to pick you up at the movies.
Ages 2 – 4
What Brothers Do Best by Laura Numeroff ($6)
Hello In There
This interactive flip book will give your kid their first, somewhat medically accurate look at the stages of a developing fetus. The book is a rare one among sibling-to-be books, because this little girl is totally psyched to tell her baby sis all about cupcakes, swimming, strawberries, and the other awesomeness things adults take for granted in life.
Hello in There by Jo Witek ($12)
Little Miss, Big Sis
Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s follow up to Plant a Kiss documents the charmed life of Little Miss — who defines precocious. The illustrations are clear and the words are rhyming as Little Miss counts down the days until she becomes a big sis. Apparently someone already knows they’ve got some skin in the game with this new addition and wants to prove she’s an asset to the baby-raising team. Then she gets the Glengarry leads.
Ages 4 – 8
Little Miss, Big Sis by Amy Krouse Rosenthal ($14)
Babies Don’t Eat Pizza
No burying the lede — this book is not about pizza. If you haven’t skipped this blurb, you should just know that it gives soon-to-be brothers and sisters the gist of what life with a baby from birth through toddlerhood is like. It even touches on adoption; premature and special needs babies; breast and bottle feeding; twins; helping and playing with babies; older children’s feelings, and includes a bonus “parents’ tips” page. And it was a Mom’s Choice Award Gold Recipient. Jeez book, you want to just raise this baby instead?
Ages: 4 – 8
Babies Don’t Eat Pizza by Dianne Danzig ($11)
Sibling rivalry makes for great kung-fu theater in this tale about Nina, a tough-as-nails toddler who uses her ninja skills to get her way (and, like all toddlers, seems to vanish whenever they hear the bath running). She’s all about that ninja life until mom and dad bring home the real Kung Fu Master — her baby brother. Now who’s the master? (Spoiler: It’s Sho’nuff.)
Ages: 3 – 6
Ninja Baby by David Zeltser and Diane Goode ($17)