A New Bundle of Joy

You took your nephew fishing for native brookies. You taught him not to draw an inside straight. You educated him in the fine art of talking to women. You’re a great uncle. So when you found out your sister-in-law was expecting a new bundle of joy, of course you rummaged around to make sure you still had that child-size fishing pole. Yep, right there behind the deer antler chandelier and your favorite neon beer sign. There are some good times ahead.

So, when that little pink envelope came in the mail, you are only a little disappointed. After all there’s still softball, and skeet shooting, and what kid doesn’t like learning to skip a stone? You grab a pocket knife and give a yell out to the wife as you cut it open. “What the heck is an onesie??? “

Seems like there’s a new tradition going around. Your sister-in-law doesn’t want you to bring a card, but instead bring a book to help grow your new niece’s library. That’s a great idea, as you never really saw the point of a card to anyway. It’s not like the baby is going to read it. Hard enough choosing between a pilsner and a stout beer, thank heavens you won’t be forced to choose between the ugly pink stork, and that prancing panda. There’s no better gift you could give than the love of reading. Well, at least until she develops the dexterity to tie her own flies.

So, where do you start? The good news is that a lot of your favorite books growing up are still in print and are time-proven classics. It’s hard to go wrong with Good Night Moon, Pat the Bunny, or Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Great books, great choices – the only problem is that a lot of people are going to have the same ideas.

You choose the path a little less read. Every baby loves a teddy bear, and there’s a great series of books titled That’s not my…Teddy; That’s not my Lion; That’s not my Tractor…. They are simple, colorful, and tactile. Every page has a different texture and descriptive adjective. It’s a great way to develop touch. There isn’t a That’s not my Trout. Not yet anyway, but there are new titles all the time.

Maybe you are a big fan of Margaret Wise Brown, and The Runaway Bunny, but feel that it’s a bit biased against big-toothed or man-eating plants? You could go with Goodnight Goon or The Runaway Mummy by Michael Rex, two parodies that will put a smile in Dad’s voice at the end of the day, as well as soothe the young one into the land of Nod. And if Dad is a devourer of H.P. Lovecraft there’s no better choice than Baby’s First Mythos. The babe can learn the eldritch alphabet and an appreciation of classic horror lore.

With books, the possibilities are endless. You’re helping open a world and a future that holds opportunities, that holds wonders, that holds the prospect of another fishing buddy. Yep, there are some good times ahead…

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