Books by Sarah, Duchess of York

MICHAEL AND HIS NEW BABY BROTHER by Sarah, Duchess of York
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2010

Michael's mommy gently introduces him to his new baby brother, first as a "bump" in her tummy, later at the hospital, where he and the baby "exchange" presents, and finally at home, where Michael helps with bathing and introduces his new brother to friends and extended family. The condescending text and improbable dialogue ("I thought you might like to give Daniel the present you chose to welcome him into the world," says Michael's dad) are unlikely to appeal to young readers. Flat, bright illustrations are set on extensive white space. Cartoon-like, they emphasize eyes and smiles, showing happy family scenes but adding little to the story. Other titles published this year in the Helping Hands series include Ashley Learns About Strangers (ISBN: 978-1-4027-7393-8), Matthew and the Bullies (ISBN: 978-1-4027-7391-4) and Emily's First Day at School (ISBN: 978-1-4027-7392-1). (Eight more have appeared in Great Britain.) Designed for parents and children to read together, each title includes "Ten Helpful Hints," well-meant but unremarkable advice from a British child psychologist as backmatter. The series is a reminder that celebrity does not necessarily provide the training ground for successful writing for children. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Jan. 11, 2000

That old reliable—the standard, well-based Weight Watchers' weight-control plan—is enlivened by vignettes from the organization's spokeswoman, the Duchess of York (Dining With the Duchess, not reviewed). In the first chapter, "Starting Over at Forty,— Sarah Ferguson reviews her turbulent 30s, ostensibly to explain how she came to be allied with Weight Watchers. Interestingly, she comes across as reasonable, even-tempered, and clearheaded. She and her Weight Watchers colleagues describe broad development stages and suggest what events in each may trigger weight problems: For infancy/toddlerhood it's a disrupted hunger-eating relationship (for instance, a strict feeding schedule); in midlife, perimenopause and menopause are often culprits. In considering how family, friends, and other relationships are intertwined with weight issues, the duchess reveals that her mother was "a brilliant and complex woman. In a word, she was magic. She . . . left our family when I was entering my teens. Once Mom left life was small and the universe was food." Ferguson offers advice on fitting healthy nutrition habits into a hectic workday, and help with stress reduction and "Managing Life's Transitions" (moving, graduation, births, deaths). The second half of this guide is given over to a reasonable four-week diet plan (designed for a 150-pound woman), complete with 50 recipes. No surprises; the usual conservative diet fare, spiced by the Duchess's starry presence. Read full book review >