Nine Months: Before A Baby Is Born


Join a family of three who spend nine whole months waiting, from a frosty winter through a sun-dappled summer, until finally . . . a baby is here.

A soon-to-be big sister and her parents prepare for the arrival of a new baby in the family. Alternating panels depict what the family is experiencing in tandem with how the baby is growing, spanning everything from receiving the news about the new baby to the excitement of its arrival.

In this pregnancy book unlike any other one out there, watch what's actually happening through meticulously detailed, actual size illustrations, perfectly paired with a lyrical yet informative text, and culminating in a warm, joyful birth scene.

Complete with backmatter that includes an elaboration on pregnancy, a list of amazing things babies can do before they're born, and more, Miranda Paul and Caldecott Honor Artist Jason Chin deliver another spectacular nonfiction picture book.--from the publisher

32 pages          978-0823441617            Ages  4-8

Keywords: new baby, pregnancy, family, human body, science, health, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old, how things work, information


“There’s an island way out in the sea

Where the babies they all grow on trees

And it’s jolly good fun to swing in the sun

But you’ve gotta watch out if you sneeze, sneeze

You gotta watch out if you sneeze”

-- Rosalie Sorrels “The Baby Tree” (1970)

“Month Four

(Weeks 13-16)



Fine, tiny hair.

Tasting a thumb.

Tasting what’s there.”

NINE MONTHS is a notable picture book that is pitch-perfect for expectant big brothers and big sisters. The layout is fantastic. On the left side of each two-page spread, there is an illustration of a growing embryo or--later on--fetus. There is one illustration for each of the nine months. By Month Four, Jason Chin’s illustrations of the growing fetus are depicted at their actual average size. This results, by the seventh month, in the fetal images expanding across the gutter and taking over a portion of the right-side of the spreads. Meanwhile, on the right side of each spread, verses about fetal development accompany a visual story of an expectant mom and dad and big sister.

Furthermore, there is excellent backmatter, which is titled More About Babies. For instance, in relation to the above verse for Month Four:

“Tasting what’s there. The womb is filled with fluid, and the fetus actually gulps mouthfuls of it each day. This amniotic fluid is flavored by things the mother eats, such as vanilla, carrots, garlic, or mint. Taste buds form between Weeks 12 and 15, and smell receptors are already formed before Week 12. Scientists aren’t sure exactly how much a fetus can smell or taste, but studies suggest that a baby may learn to prefer foods that a mother eats while pregnant.”

I particularly appreciate the verse accompanying Month Six, which encourages expectant siblings to “Sing as she listens, Tell her you’re near.” I was a big proponent of singing and reading to my own kids en utero.

Caldecott Honor illustrator Jason Chin employs watercolor and gouache here. The story of the parents and big sister lead to a pivotal two-page nighttime illustration in which the parents are heading for the car, no doubt bound for the hospital, while big sister, with grandma there to take care of her, hesitantly waves goodbye.

I hate to break it to the big sister but, based on my own experience of sixty years ago, things will never ever be the same after that night.

This will be a fun book for pregnant families to revisit each month, to talk about the developmental progress, and for all kids to get some accurate and age-appropriate information about what takes place in the nine months before a baby is born.

Recommended by: Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA

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