In this combination picture–activity book and memory album, parents affectionately envision the firsts in their new child’s life.
Writer–educator Glavin (Rock Star’s Rainbow, 2009) follows his first novel with a sweet, predictable children’s book, with Grepo illustrating. The book opens with an image of a stork flying through a golden sky to deliver a smiling couple their first child. Prompted by the joyful newness the baby boy has ushered into their lives, the parents begin listing the firsts their son will have, à la an energetic reversal of Goodnight Moon. In pared down, rhyming couplets, each beginning with the refrain “It’ll be the first time…,” they tell their son the things he’ll do: “play out in the sun,” “spread your legs and run,” “walk the dog” and “fly through the fog.” The digital illustrations are sharply outlined with smudges of black or white for shadows. Racially diverse characters are dressed in solid colors, their postures warm and emotions easily readable; the effect is rudimentary but endearing. The story’s flaw is that its intimate focus may restrict itself to firstborn male children. In addition, the future anticipated for the young boy is as traditional as the classic Century Schoolbook type it’s printed in—he acts cool, catches touchdowns and takes a girl on a date. The message is simplistic but the project as a whole is ambitious. Space provided after the story’s enthusiastic conclusion invites parents and children to record and remember firsts, and to celebrate and plan future goals. The book doesn’t transport readers to another world, uncover truths or find the fantastical hidden in the lackluster; instead, it sticks close to home, with a heartfelt message: Mom and Dad are here, and they can’t wait to see you grow. Intended for ages 1 to 10, the book is a little thin to hold 10 years of memories, and it may bore older readers. Nonetheless, its authors have added a website to accompany the text, which, depending on its development and usability, could extend the book’s reach beyond rocking chair musings.
Simple and conventional on the page, with a separate multimedia component; best for a younger audience.