Hello Benny!: What It's Like to Be a Baby

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Overview

Children love to hear the stories about what they were like and all the wonderful, amazing, interesting, and funny things they did from birth through the first few years of their lives. They also have endless questions about those wonderful years:

Can a new baby see? What makes a baby smile?

Do babies only fuss, cry, sleep, and have their diapers changed?

Why do babies put everything they can in their mouths?

How do babies learn to talk? Can babies laugh? Do all babies crawl?

The award-winning team who created Happy Birth Day! and Hi New Baby! launches a brand-new picture-book series, Growing Up Stories -- books that tell enchanting stories and present fascinating facts about the first five years of life.

The first book of the series, Hello Benny!, tells the story of Benny and celebrates his first year of life -- from his very first sounds to his very first smile, to rolling over, sitting up, and standing, to finding out that he loves bananas and doesn't love peas, to shoving cake in his mouth on his first birthday! Hello Benny! captures the remarkable story of what it's like to be a baby and how babies "grow up."

Combining a beautifully told fictional story with a myriad of facts about babies, Harris and Emberley have created a timeless book for children to enjoy and for families to share together.

Benny learns many things during the first year of his life. Includes nonfiction information about infant development.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This initial entry in a new Growing Up Stories series, focused on a child s first five years, is the latest from the ace chroniclers of early child development (Happy Birth Day!; It s So Amazing!). Each spread of the large-format book does double-duty: the bigger illustrations and bulk of the text track the growth of and family interactions with baby Benny from his debut Wha-wha-wha-whaaaaaaaaaaah! to his first birthday party. Set off from the main text in a box with blue type and cartoon-like spot art is a kind of developmental primer, which answers the whys of the behavior spotlighted in the narrative. For example, a spread showing Benny mouthing his foot (Benny looked like a pretzel when he did that!) explains that putting things in their mouths helps [babies] learn whether something feels rough or smooth, soft or hard, comfy or not. The spot illustration shows a baby nipping his sister s nose. He gwabbed by dose! says a cartoon bubble, and the grandfather holding the child tells readers, That s how he learns about noses. Emberley infuses his artwork with a spontaneity and humor that s perfect for the mood of the text. He renders the rapture of new parenthood as confidently as he does the skepticism of new siblinghood, and does a terrific job of depicting Benny s evolving physiognomy from newborn to toddler. Harris s sprightly but detail-packed style is once again pegged at exactly the right level for her young audience. Any growing family should find this volume a welcome addition. Ages 3-7. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-This book follows Benny from the day he is born to his first birthday. The large-type text includes anecdotal incidents and the things that he's learning to do; inset boxes, printed in blue, offer more general, factual information. The book covers the development of physical abilities as well as emotional and cognitive advances, such as how language skills are developed or why babies sometimes fear strangers. The subtext gets a bit wordy. For instance, readers are told that crying can mean a baby feels, "hungry, angry, tired, bored, lonely, scared, hurt, or sick-or too hot or cold, or needs a diaper changed-or just wants to play with someone-or have some fun-or be picked up and cuddled." There are no definite time frames given, but rather a chain of events is established-one afternoon Benny pulls himself up to standing, a few weeks later he takes two steps on his own. It is unclear for whom the book is intended. The illustrations point to a younger audience, but preschoolers would never make it through the whole text. Large, expansive drawings feature Benny and his family, with smaller vignettes of other babies and their caregivers, young and old, for the insets. The lighthearted cartoon drawings, reminiscent of the line work of Jules Feiffer, are sweet and full of humor. This is a carefree introduction to the wonder of babies with solid information presented in a busy, two-tiered approach.-Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Children are exposed to a wealth of information as Harris (Goodbye Mousie, 2001, etc.) begins a series that will educate children about the first five years of life. In this first, focusing on the first 12 months, the reader is introduced to the newborn, Benny. From incomprehensible gurgle sounds to smiling for the first time to his first spoken word, Benny is observed in his home environment quickly learning all the things that are necessary for his development. Each page contains a text box of additional facts that explain in greater detail a baby’s actions throughout the growing stage, answering the many questions that curious readers might have—and quite a few they haven’t thought of. The content is richly comprehensive; preschoolers will learn all of this material gradually, through multiple readings. Emberley (You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You, 2001, etc.) uses a blend of computerized and traditional artwork with pen, colored pencils, and watercolor to create each one of Benny’s friends and family members. On white matte paper, the painted portraits are suspended above the text, while others mix in it. The visual references that correspond to the supporting facts make this piece educational and lots of fun. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689832574
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 8/13/2002
  • Series: Growing Up Stories Series
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.32 (w) x 11.26 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Robie H. Harris
Robie H. Harris

Robie H. Harris has written many award-winning books for children of all ages, including the definitive Family Library about sexuality: IT'S PERFECTLY NORMAL, IT'S SO AMAZING!, and IT'S NOT THE STORK! She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Michael Emberley is the illustrator of numerous books for children, including the Family Library. He lives in Wicklow, Ireland.

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