An indispensable manual for parents venturing into the unknown territory of day care.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

Dear Daycare Parent

A step-by-step guide explains the mysterious world of day care.

Rioux and Parylak aim their debut book at first-time parents undertaking the always wrenching process of transitioning their child from home care to a day care center. The authors draw on their own extensive experience in education and child care to break down the basics of what is naturally an intimidating and bewildering move: handing a youngster over to comparative strangers for large chunks of the day. The book addresses every conceivable detail those nervous parents might encounter, from the unsavory (head lice and playtime biting, among many other horrors of childhood) to the practical (don’t forget to turn the car’s engine off before escorting the child inside; make sure the youngster’s microwaveable lunch is packed in the right container; and always remember the all-important precaution of labeling literally everything). The authors adopt a thoroughly confident and cheerful tone throughout, firmly but happily reminding jittery parents that caregivers are people too, often busy folks watching many children at the same time all day long—and gently admonishing overly demanding mothers and fathers (the type wanting minute-by-minute accountings of how their kids spend each visit). At every stage, Rioux and Parylak encourage communication between parents and workers (“Bulletin boards are posted either in your child’s classroom or just outside it. This board highlights important notices or information. Please read them daily”). The useful volume tells parents that there are no silly questions but also consistently reminds them throughout of their own responsibilities—for carefully laying out any problems or special requirements their child might have (rather than counting on the staff to be mind readers), for explaining to workers any factors (such as divorce or illness) at home that might affect the youngster’s behavior at the facility, and even for informing caregivers of any change in the person who’ll be picking up the child at the end of the visit. Parents facing this switch from home care to a center often become frazzled and worried by the change—and hence prone to mistakes or oversights. This book, lavishly and wonderfully illustrated by Graf, should be on every new parent’s nightstand.

An indispensable manual for parents venturing into the unknown territory of day care.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-692-57249-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.


Fremont (After Long Silence, 1999) continues—and alters—her story of how memories of the Holocaust affected her family.

At the age of 44, the author learned that her father had disowned her, declaring her “predeceased”—or dead in his eyes—in his will. It was his final insult: Her parents had stopped speaking to her after she’d published After Long Silence, which exposed them as Jewish Holocaust survivors who had posed as Catholics in Europe and America in order to hide multilayered secrets. Here, Fremont delves further into her tortured family dynamics and shows how the rift developed. One thread centers on her life after her harrowing childhood: her education at Wellesley and Boston University, the loss of her virginity to a college boyfriend before accepting her lesbianism, her stint with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, and her decades of work as a lawyer in Boston. Another strand involves her fraught relationship with her sister, Lara, and how their difficulties relate to their father, a doctor embittered after years in the Siberian gulag; and their mother, deeply enmeshed with her own sister, Zosia, who had married an Italian count and stayed in Rome to raise a child. Fremont tells these stories with novelistic flair, ending with a surprising theory about why her parents hid their Judaism. Yet she often appears insensitive to the serious problems she says Lara once faced, including suicidal depression. “The whole point of suicide, I thought, was to succeed at it,” she writes. “My sister’s completion rate was pathetic.” Key facts also differ from those in her earlier work. After Long Silence says, for example, that the author grew up “in a small city in the Midwest” while she writes here that she grew up in “upstate New York,” changes Fremont says she made for “consistency” in the new book but that muddy its narrative waters. The discrepancies may not bother readers seeking psychological insights rather than factual accuracy, but others will wonder if this book should have been labeled a fictionalized autobiography rather than a memoir.

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982113-60-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A highly readable account of how solid research and personal testing of self-help techniques saved a couple's marriage after...


Self-help advice and personal reflections on avoiding spousal fights while raising children.

Before her daughter was born, bestselling author Dunn (Why Is My Mother Getting a Tattoo?: And Other Questions I Wish I Never Had to Ask, 2009, etc.) enjoyed steady work and a happy marriage. However, once she became a mother, there never seemed to be enough time, sleep, and especially help from her husband. Little irritations became monumental obstacles between them, which led to major battles. Consequently, they turned to expensive couples' therapy to help them regain some peace in life. In a combination of memoir and advice that can be found in most couples' therapy self-help books, Dunn provides an inside look at her own vexing issues and the solutions she and her husband used to prevent them from appearing in divorce court. They struggled with age-old battles fought between men and women—e.g., frequency of sex, who does more housework, who should get up with the child in the middle of the night, why women need to have a clean house, why men need more alone time, and many more. What Dunn learned via therapy, talks with other parents, and research was that there is no perfect solution to the many dynamics that surface once couples become parents. But by using time-tested techniques, she and her husband learned to listen, show empathy, and adjust so that their former status as a happy couple could safely and peacefully morph into a happy family. Readers familiar with Dunn's honest and humorous writing will appreciate the behind-the-scenes look at her own semi-messy family life, and those who need guidance through the rough spots can glean advice while being entertained—all without spending lots of money on couples’ therapy.

A highly readable account of how solid research and personal testing of self-help techniques saved a couple's marriage after the birth of their child.

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-26710-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?