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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

When I First Met You Blue Kangaroo

Author and Illustrator: Emma Chichester Clark
Publisher: HarperCollins children's, 2015

This is the ideal book for parents wanting to explore with their children, what it might feel like or is like when they gain a new sibling. We bought this book for Edie, at 3 years, when gaining her new baby brother George, and the rhetoric of 'it might feel strange, different at first, and we all make mistakes with new things at first' helped us all feel that better prepared ( especially when it came to those first child -to-baby sibling new misadventures!) I very much like the page where mum admits she makes lots of mistakes too, promoting a fantastic dialogue every time between Edie and I, 'so what mistakes DID you make with me, mummy?' 

I also like that the little girl in the book, Lily, is given a blue kangaroo toy to cherish by her grandma, and she is typically over zealous with her 'love', paralleling her eagerness with her new brother. New sibling stories tend to fix on jealousy as a first reaction to the new sibling ( the equally lovely book Ever So, Ever So by Kes Gray for example), when in my experience, over-eagerness and interest in the new arrival can often preclude feelings of jealousy and being left-out. 
We found this book again very useful tonight in that Bert ( at 5) likes things 'just so' and is worried about doing things 'wrong'. Although essentially this book is about gaining a sibling, the context can easily be broadened to suit a theme of general transition, so 'sometimes things in life change a bit, and as things adjust, we learn.' We even moved the focus tonight on to 'sometimes we try new things ( like washing the blue kangaroo) and we get it wrong ( blue kangaroo covered in talcum powder) but that's okay as parents still love you and problems can always be put right ( blue kangaroo is washable!) This book rates highly then, as a conversation starter, an emotion explorer and promoting a good attitude to transition. It would be a useful book for the collection for anyone wanting to promote discussion with their children about starting school, moving house, or any number of transitional events typical in a preschooler's life. All in all, this is a sweet and cheerful story ( about a little girl and her toy), particularly suitable for the 3-5 year category.

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