Review – Wonderful You

Wonderful You
Author: Lisa Graff
Illustrator: Ramona Kaulitzki
Penguin Publishing Group
Ages: 3 to 7 years old, Grades P to 2

A great gift for new parents, a soon to be older sibling, or a teacher building their classroom library. 

An incredibly sweet book; where to begin?  I imagine the best place to start is at the beginning. 

What did you feel like when you found out a baby was on the way? It doesn’t matter how that baby was expected to arrive.  The accompanying feelings are pretty much the same for any parent to be: excitement, fear, uncertainty, anticipation, anxiety; and a long list of other descriptors certainly come to mind.

In her charmingly written book, Graff explores all these feelings through the eyes of a variety of families; all different, all unique, all anticipating the arrival of a child. From multiracial families to same sex parents, couples on their own to those with extended families, first time parents to those expecting a second, third, or even fourth child; this book covers them all. 

The writing is almost lyrical in its cadence, ending each page and family introduction with the words, “waited for you,” tying each family to the one before. The depth of meaning behind those three simple words is extraordinary, because in truth, waiting is the hardest part of expecting a new family member. Each turn of a page takes you to a new family experiencing this wait and preparing for the arrival of a child.

Kaulitzki’s illustrations bring the text to life with beautiful colors, detailed portrayals of unique families, and expressions of wonder and joy on all the family member’s faces. Her attention to detail creates a story in itself and encourages the reader to experience the story through the drawings as well as the words.

The teaching opportunities are easy and multifaceted. Lessons about families are the most obvious to begin with and can be expanded to include social awareness and diversity because of the variety of families included in the narrative.  Culture and traditions as well as community members and jobs, can also be addressed given the diversity of families included. Parents will love the book because it allows them to explore the various stages of their baby’s development; something that can easily be adapted for use in the classroom.

Indirectly, math and measurement are introduced through the comparisons of the size of the developing baby on the way: using fruits as references which the children can easily relate to visually. This lesson is easily incorporated in the home as well as the classroom. Language arts components are also numerous, including vocabulary development, alliteration, repetitive language, sequencing, and grammar providing examples of verbs, nouns, and adjectives. 

So, what did you feel? My answer may be a bit different than yours.  My oldest son arrived in my life as a bouncing, exuberant five year old, not a brand new baby. His sister and brother did come into my life as brand new babies and completed our family with their arrivals. Regardless of how a child arrives in your life, or what you are offering them upon their arrival (be it a small family unit with just one parent, or an extended family with lots of people) the one common factor present is love.  It is the tie that binds a family together. This book is all about family and the love that these families share.

Written for ages 3-7, children in preK through grade 2, this is a book that can and would be enjoyed by a much broader range of ages, especially if the reader is anticipating becoming a big brother or sister. A great gift for new parents, a soon to be older sibling, or a teacher building their classroom library. 

Wonderful You (Support an Independent Bookstore)
Wonderful You (Hardcover at Amazon)*

More books for this Age Group can be found here.

Please, leave comments! I love a HEALTHY exchange of ideas. After all, critical thinking is essential to life.

My thanks to Edelweiss+ and the Publisher for providing an Advance Copy of this book. The views expressed herein are my own.

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