A first time for everything by Tiffiny Hall and Ed Kavalee

cover image

Illus. by Anil Tortop. Albert Street Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781760525002.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Adventure, Exploration, Parenting, Babies, Families. This book had me laughing out loud recognising the trials and tribulations of that first year with a new baby.
Everything seems to go well before he comes along, but the experience of a first child is daunting and it is shown with love and humour as the parents grow into their new job. The look on mum's face as the child is left with her, a mixture of panic and happiness, of fear and joy, comes across beautifully in the cartoon like illustrations. Each page reveals another trial, as the parents tell the reader what has happened, and the illustrations belie the calmness of the text.
As the pages turn the progress of the child's first year is revealed, from its first wee across the room, the first poo, the first time Dad introduces pumpkin, the first outing and so on. Readers will see the development of the child from a baby to a toddler, reinforcing the progressive development of skills and abilities as the child grows.
But humour abounds as the frazzled parents take their new roles seriously. I love the image of the child in its bassinet in the car, the first time they take the baby home. And of Mum struggling with the array of things she must take with her as she wheels the pusher down the street whistling to herself at a job well done while the baby has been left behind. Readers will get a thrill out of the contrast between the illustrations and text, and pore over the detail of family life shown.
Delicious first moments appear on every page: the first word, the first outing, the first sleep through and the first birthday, for the parents a long time coming. Classes will have a lot of fun with this book, recognising the trauma that occurs in a house with a new baby, empathising with the new parents, seeing a child's development, and seeing the first year from three (or four, with the long suffering dog) different perspectives.
Fran Knight