a 9-month guide for expectant siblings

9 months cover image

9 months, written by Courtney Adamo and Esther van de Paal, illustrated by Lizzy Stewart
published in 2017 by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

If you’re looking for a charming, lovely, helpful way to help young children understand just what it means that mama’s got another little biscuit in the oven, this book is a great one to reach for.

Beginning with conception, “when that minuscule egg in Mama’s belly meets an even tinier seed — called a sperm — from Papa” and proceeding straight through to delivery, the authors walk us through the wonders and monumental growth of this new baby, as well as the much more observable, perhaps more impactful changes from their perspective, for their dear mama’s body.

9 months interior by Adamo, van de Pall, and Stewart

Each month, a colorful illustration lets them see what their baby looks like and how big it is — like a grain of rice, or a cantaloupe. Small paragraphs tell about new changes and growth. A couple of curious questions are answered very briefly, with just a line or two. No heavy-handed, long-winded explanations here. What is a womb? Why is the baby sucking his thumb? Will the baby recognize me when he’s born?

Each month, too, a small paragraph answers the question, “How is Mama feeling?” Children are cued in lightly to reasons why mom’s back might ache, what the baby’s kicking feels like, and what she learns at those classes she goes to.

9 months interior2 by Adamo, van de Paal, and Stewart

The whole book is awash with Stewart’s amiable, cheerful illustrations, giving it an sunny, airy feel. Text is written with young children in mind, with no stiff, technical, serious-doctor-voices. Two pages at the end give lots more detail for older children and these employ more precise, scientific vocabulary — zygote, amniotic sac, vernix.

As I said, it’s lovely and will fill a need for many, many families.