Katrina Germein and Cheryl Orsini are prolific contributors to Australia’s picture book industry, with a reputation for humorous and heartwarming stories for young readers. Little Book Baby explores the social and developmental significance of a child’s early, pre-literate contact with books via a gentle family-focussed day-in-the-life.
Baby’s first experience of the day is a yawning lap cuddle as mum sleepily shares a sunrise themed picture book. Beside Mum, we see her steaming coffee and the TBR pile she was perhaps dipping into while the little one slept. Little Book Baby is lucky enough to be growing up in a family that values books and role models reading. Many studies show that growing up in a house with books has some correlation with improved educational outcomes.
The story then follows Baby through the day, as books provide fun, comfort, distraction and stimulation. Whether with parents, grandparents or having some quiet time on the rug, books are integrated into Baby’s toy spaces and décor. This offers Baby a range of ‘concepts of print’ opportunities (holding a book the right way, turning pages, exploring visuals, etc) long before this child will learn to decode words.
Little Book Baby reminds us that all kinds of books have value in the literacy long game – board books, musical books, pop up books, bath books – not to mention the space they provide for mindful shared reading and joyful close contact between adults and children. Bouncy rhyming prose and illustrative treats to spot in the backgrounds of the main story will make this a charming bedtime read or gift for a new arrival. This might also find a place in early childhood or new parent support programs as a strong reminder that it’s never too early to begin fostering a love of reading.