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Off the Shelf -- Cape Cod Parent & Child Column (November 2004)
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, November 29, 2004
Posted: Monday, November 29, 2004

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This is a column I write for Cape Cod Parent & Child newspaper, which reviews informative / fun books for all ages.

-- Sara

The What to Expect Baby-Sitter’s Handbook – Heidi Murkoff


Let me first say I’m biased. I have three books from the “What to Expect” series and recently told my mom “Those books are GOLD.”


She – who reads every one – said “YES.”


Our first book What to Expect When You’re Expecting aided a pregnancy involving my own version of stretch-torture. With a stomach stretched taught from day one, culminating in a near ten pound babe, I learned the pain and baby were normal. Mom relied on the second book more than I, What to Expect the First Year, thinking it was loads of laughs learning how to entertain her triumphant granddaughter who often threw her arms straight in the air a la “Rocky!” As for me, I found the Ones blissful enough to spend more time spoon-feeding, marveling over small things and shot-induced cuddles than reading. The third book What to Expect the Toddler Years is still helping us get through “the terrible twos.” Thanks to the book, they have been the terrific twos (okay, more or less).


I digress! This review is on Heidi Murkoff’s latest: The What to Expect Baby-Sitter’s Handbook. Heidi Murkoff, acclaimed author of the “What to Expect” parental series, is turning to teens. Why, you ask, is she doing this?


“I knew that lots of parents were giving copies of the other “What to Expect” books to their baby-sitters. But those books are geared to parents,” Murkoff explains. “Think of this book as a sort of ‘Cliff Notes’ for ‘What to Expect’ – it gives sitters everything they need to know.’


The book goes through the various stages, newborn to preschooler, in the same way her other books do but with the most commonly-asked questions by sitters. Think of the format as half advice, half reference, covering every hot topic at every age with crucial information on feeding, playing, going-out, bathing, sleeping, and behavior / discipline. Important tips such as “give a time-in” (ways good behavior is rewarded so children feel good about behaving well) grace the pages. There’s even a food section supplying recipes like Green Eggs and Ham (the green comes from chives), Egg in a Hole, “a twist on the classic sunny-side-up fried egg” and English Muffin Pizza.


As for a major parental plus: Parents can offer sitters this book personalized. Fill-ins throughout cover everything from emergency phone numbers to clean-up chores the child does to her / his favorite songs! Talk about a parent’s / babysitter’s dream!


When parents leave their child with a sitter, they want to KNOW the sitter can take-on tantrums and dish-out discipline yet keep the child happy and totally safe. This is the book to give that sitter.




Web Site: Cape Cod Parent & Child

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