Dr. Seuss's My Book about Me
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
The baby book your "baby" writes!
Dr. Seuss didn't just understand kids. He understood parents.
Let's make sure that when I speak of a baby book that we both know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about those little scrapbooks where you document your child's milestones. (Birth weight, footprint, attendees at first birthday party, etc.)
Some people call them baby memory books or baby keepsake books. And some people call them names I can't repeat here! Those people are usually grownups who were the "baby" of the family. They saw their older sibling's baby book - filled to the gills - while their own went largely unused.
No parent buys a baby book intending to fall asleep on the job. "Book-keeping" just has a way of falling off your To-Do list as time goes on. But try telling that to your youngest, age 30, who remains convinced you love "Junior" more and uses the baby books as evidence. Just call yourself Villain Mama!
Dr. Seuss knew that. That's why he created My Book about Me
How it works
I'll start by making clear that your child doesn't begin compiling this autobiography as a baby. The assignment requires some reading skills.
You see, My Book about Me looks like a regular book until you start using it! It's filled with lots of blanks for your child to fill in.
What's your name? What's your gender? How tall are you? Draw what your hair looks like!
The good Doctor knew how to keep kids engaged.
Where are you from? What does your house look like? How many pictures hang on the walls?
Collect some autographs. Get one from a policeman. Get one from the mailman. Get one from a man with a beard!
Sorry, ladies. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) wrote the book in 1969, when policepeople and mail carriers (and bearded people!) tended to be male.
The good news is that even though the book was published in 1969, there are few parts that feel out of date.
What do you like about school? What's your favorite color? How many buttons on all your clothes? Draw a bird!
If nothing else, this book keeps your kid busy. And, when she or he is done, they have a completed book on their shelf that is only about them.
And no hostility toward Mom or Dad!
(Of course, if you're that parent who is absolutely positive you'll complete each and every one of your children's baby books equally and completely, here's Amazon's baby memory books selection.
I've gotta give Seuss credit: it's a pretty brilliant concept. Since you can't buy the book for just one of your kids - that's how you become the villain again - you're committed to at least as many copies as you have kids. That's how My Book about Me became one of the best selling books of the 20th century! (And why it's still in print.)
Rather brilliantly, Seuss put the chore of completing the baby book in the hands of the person most likely to complete it.
And of course, these personalized baby books are going to be even more unique for the fact of each of your children having completed their own, rather than Mom applying her style to each one of them.
So, Mom, how many My Book About Mes do you need?
Complete Dr. Seuss book list.
Read more of Steve's reviews.
Best Children's Books - Find, Read or Write home page.