At times we may feel overwhelmed by our new role as parents, but first-borns retain a special place in our hearts. “You Were the First,” by Patricia MacLachlan, the newest Baby Buzz Book chosen by Washington Parents as Teachers, celebrates a memorable event that changes us forever.
Each month parent educators select a noteworthy book for children birth to age five. A review of the Baby Buzz Pick runs in the second weekend issue of The Missourian. The group then purchases copies of the books to use in their visits with parents and children.
The following review was written by Nancy Nagel, local literacy advocate.
“First time parents delight in watching their children progress through major developmental milestones. Who can forget when their child took her first steps or said her first word? But what about some of the less obvious achievements and firsts that are unique to each family?
“Seeing the world with a first baby makes even routine happenings memorable. This new picture book celebrates those memories in a beautiful way.
“Soft colors fill the gentle pictures that illustrate and support the story. The illustrations were drawn in graphite pencil on Mohawk paper. They, along with ink washes of patterns and textures, were scanned, assembled and colored using a software program.
“Simple text on each page describes a ‘first’ from the parents’ point of view. ‘…You were the first to sleep in the basket with the yellow ribbon wound round….You were the first to cry. You were the first to smile. You were the first to lift your head, to look at the trees and flowers and sky. You were the first to see the bluebirds come back in the spring—the first to dig in the garden.
“’Then the story goes straight to the heart of the relationship that parents and their first child share: ‘You were the first to teach us how to be parents.’
“’This profound statement captures the essence of how parents and children grow together. While we are ‘teaching’ our children to walk, talk, count and name colors, they are teaching us patience, self-sacrifice and unconditional love. It takes one or more little brothers and sisters for some of us to learn these lessons, but it starts with the first.”
Other parent educator favorites this month are “Bad Bye, Good Bye,” by Deborah Underwood, “Tap, Tap Boom Boom,” by Elizabeth Bluemle, and “Bears in the Bath,” by Shirley Parenteau.