Title: Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five
Author: Penelope Leach
Publication Year: 2010
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Review: This book would be a really good reference for a new parent, as the author is sensitive and respectful of children and thoroughly covers a wide range of topics. However, I can’t imagine reading this book cover to cover or even an entire chapter at a time, since the age ranges are fairly broad, particularly for older children (newborn, first 6 months, second 6 months, 1 – 2.5 years, 2.5 to 5 years). I presently have a 1 year old and a 3 year old. My one year old is nothing like a 2.5 year old and my 3 year old is nothing like a 5 year old, so while I attempted to read both of the last two sections in their entirety, I just found too much of it irrelevant to stick with it. Also, although the book covers the first 5 years of life, over half of it is dedicated to the first year alone. I also did not find much of the information particularly insightful or thought-provoking. If one has time to read all 500+ pages of this book before their child reaches each age range, great. However, if not, I think most of the information will be readily discovered anyway without any serious issues arising due to lack of foresight or preparation.
While I found this book to be overwhelming, I do sincerely like the author and agree with most of her advice. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction that illustrates the author’s attitude toward children. “If your three year old panics when you turn out her bedroom light, stop. Listen to her; listen to your own feelings. While she is afraid, there can be no luxurious rest for her or well-earned adult peace for you. Put a light on again and let you both be content. It does not matter whether she “ought” to be scared of the dark; it only matters, to everyone present, that she is. (pg. 12)” I definitely think this book is an excellent alternative to the What to Expect Series (Your Child’s First Year, etc.). I think it would be a really good resource for someone pregnant with their first child. However, for someone with multiple kids, particularly those past the infant stage, the value of this book seems fairly limited. (Personal Rating: 8/10)