A grandmother recently requested titles for picture books to read to her granddaughter before the arrival of a sibling. Here are some favorites to help any preschooler process the ups and downs of having a baby sibling:
"Babies Don't Eat Pizza: A Big Kids' Book About Baby Brothers and Baby Sisters" (Dutton, $16.99, 2009) by Dianne Danzig. A nurse, the author ushers her young listeners along the pregnancy, birth, homecoming and development of a new sibling. Babies need lots of help from their big brothers or sisters, and they don't get to eat pizza.
"I Used To Be the Baby" (Greenwillow Books, $17.99, 2002) by Robin Ballard. The new big brother comes up with solutions to cope with his baby brother, such as sharing his toys or giving him board books. In the end, brother likes alone time with mommy, too, so can be like a baby again.
"Julius, the Baby of the World" (Greenwillow Books, $6.95, 1995) by Kevin Henkes, who also is the creator of "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse." Lilly the mouse has a new baby brother named Julius, and she despises all the attention he gets. "If you were a number, you'd be zero," Lilly tells Julius. "If you were a food, you'd be a raisin." But through all the mean words, Lilly also wants to be protective of baby Julius.
"The New Baby" (Random House Books for Young Readers, $3.99, 2001) by Mercer Mayer. Little Critter tries to read to his baby sister, but she doesn't understand. Plus she cries when he makes silly faces. Little Critter is annoyed by all they cannot do together, but then he learns what he and baby can do: snuggle and go for walks in her stroller.
"On Mother's Lap" (HMH Books, $5.95, 2000) by Ann Herbert Scott. In an Eskimo dwelling, Michael hops onto his mother's lap and brings all his favorites with him. But when Baby cries, he gets mad, pouts and hides. His mommy persuades him that her love multiplies instead of divides there's room for a baby and a boy on her lap.
"A New Baby at Koko Bear's House" (Book Peddlers, $6.95,1993) by Vicki Lansky. Koko Bear gets a little jealous as he goes through the pregnancy, birth and homecoming of a new baby bear.
"Arthur's Baby" (Little Brown Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 1987) by Marc Brown. The friendly but cautious aardvark Arthur is worried about the arrival of his baby sister, Kate. His older sister acts like a pro as she helps care for Kate, but it's Arthur who saves the day when baby needs to be burped.
"I'm a Big Brother" and "I'm a Big Sister" by Joanna Cole. (HarperCollins, $6.99, 1997). The texts are the same in these two books, except for subbing in the words "sister" or "brother." Why do babies cry? Why can't they do anything? The book is designed to make the big sibling feel special, and learn that babies do more than wail and poop.
"That Baby Woke Me up, AGAIN!" (BookSurge, $14.99, 2005) by Sherry Ellis. Rhyming verses tell the story of a sibling who is worn out from being awakened by a baby's nightly crying. After all, it's not just parents who get tired after a little one comes home. Siblings do, too.
"My New Baby" (Child's Play International, $4.99, 2000) by Annie Kubler. This board book does not have words, but it has pictures that show a little boy adjusting to a new baby. Mom nurses baby while Daddy fixes dinner, and both parents work to be sure big brother doesn't feel left out.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a new parenting website called www.healthychildren.org. The information runs from prenatal care to young adults.
Betsy Flagler, a journalist based in Davidson, N.C., is a mother and teaches preschool. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.