About the Holiday
Observed during the five weeks between Mothers Day and Fathers Day, National Family Month was established by KidsPeace, a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping children and families since 1882. Leading into the school vacation season, the holiday encourages families to spend more time working, playing, talking, and just hanging out together. Today’s book highlights that exciting time when a family grows by welcoming a new baby—with a look through a new sibling’s eyes.
Thanks to WaterBrook and Kathleen Long Bostrom for sharing a copy of Since the Baby Came with me for review consideration. All opinions on the book are my own.
Since the Baby Came: A Sibling’s Learning-to-Love Story in 16 Poems
Written by Kathleen Long Bostrom | Illustrated by Janet Samuel
In this insightful, honest, funny, and heartwarming story, a little girl learns that she’s going to be a big sister during a breakfast of blueberry pancakes. To her left is her mama, who surprises her with the announcement, “‘We are having a baby!'” To her right is her daddy with the gift of a “Best Big Sister” T-shirt in hand. She seems dubious as she lets the syrup flow over her stack and onto the table because, she thinks, “Nobody asked me.”
In “Mama Is Having a Baby” the girl tries to navigate all the changes that are happening—from her mother’s lap growing smaller to all of her toys being pushed aside for the baby’s crib and necessities to how long it’s taking for the baby to come. She asks God to tell her what happened and to help her to wait. At last her baby brother does arrive, and in “He’s Here! He’s Here!” the little girl expresses her excitement at all the things they can now do together and is sure “We’ll be best friends, the two of us, / and never ever fight or fuss. / He’ll love me more than anyone! / To have him home will be such fun!”
But the reality is different than she imagined, and her emotions begin to ride a rollercoaster from attention-seeking in “Look at Me!” to feelings of neglect and frustration in “When Will This Baby Go Away?” to the horrors of diaper changes in “Diaper Volcano” to dismay about his “bad habits” in “Suppertime.” But then she prays to God. In “Dear God” she says, “Hi, dear God! Remember me? / I need a friend today. / When my thoughts are tangled up, / it helps a lot to pray.” She goes on to explain her mixed feelings about how her life has changed, her brother’s crying, her decreased room space, and how busy her mama is. But she also talks about how she likes to snuggle and sing a lullaby to the baby: “Something happens then dear God. / My heart fills to the brim! / It makes me feel so very glad / to sing my song to him.” She realizes that “with our little baby here, / I’ll never be alone!”
With her change of heart, she looks on her brother with new eyes and heart as he sleeps, wondering what he dreams about; is excited when he smiles at her; and discovers in “Maybe” that his “wiggles and giggles” are as “cute as can be” and that “he is amazing.” Now, she decides that her brother can stay with them and that maybe she’d even be open to having “another new brother—perhaps two or three!”
As Christmas comes, the baby has learned to sit up, and the little girl is showing him the story of the baby Jesus, who “was a baby too. / Just like me and just like you.” Splashing in the bathtub together, all of the little girl’s reservations are gone and she can unequivocally state all the reasons why she loves her baby brother. Soon her brother is standing, and in “Me Too!” he reaches out to touch his sister’s finger, sharing a special bond and ability to communicate. The story ends with “Surprise (Part 2)” in which the girl learns that an earlier wish will be fulfilled while her now toddler brother appears dubious.
An explanation of the fifteen types of poetry used in the book follows the story.
With an empathetic and witty child’s-eye (and -heart) view of the upheaval, worries, acceptance, and joys of welcoming a new baby into the family, Kathleen Long Bostrom creates a tender story for parents to share with their child or children while waiting for the baby to come and through the stages and changes that come next. Bostrom’s use of realistic, child-centric language and dialogue makes the situations and feelings expressed in each poem immediately recognizable for kids and adults alike, allowing them to easily discuss these events and emotions together. Bostrom’s use of fifteen different types of poetry introduces young readers to the engaging variety and playfulness of this literary form.
Janet Samuel’s vibrant and animated illustrations clearly show the changing family dynamics as the household prepares for the baby and welcomes him home. Images of home, meals, a crowd of family and friends gathered around the baby, a diaper change, and even the idyllic view the little girl has of what life will be like when her baby brother comes home are lovingly and humorously portrayed while depicting real emotions and a touch of familiar chaos. Over the course of the poems, these scenes segue into a calmer routine as the baby begins to sleep, smile, and play; the house becomes orderly once again, and the little girl discovers she loves her brother.
In Since the Baby Came, the trajectory of Kathleen Long Bostrom’s poems and Janet Samuel’s illustrations work beautifully in tandem to create a moving portrait of a family growing in size and love. The book is one that families can dip into during each stage, from pregnancy to homecoming and through a baby’s first year of development, to help new siblings understand the many changes that come, to navigate their feelings, and to welcome their brother or sister into their heart. Since the Baby Came would make a much-appreciated gift and is highly recommended for home, church and school library, and public library collections.
Ages 3 – 7
WaterBrook, 2023 | ISBN 978-0593577684
About the Author
Kathleen Long Bostrom is an award-winning author of over fifty books for children. Her books are published in over twenty languages. She is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA) who now writes full time. As a middle child, Kathy was both the new baby and the older sister who later became a mother of three herself. She knows whereof she rhymes! Visit her at kathleenlongbostrom.com.
About the Illustrator
Janet Samuel is an illustrator who lives in a small town in Wales with her daughter, Alice, and scruffy terrier, Tilly. Janet has illustrated books for many publishers, including Macmillan, Usbourne, Little Tiger Press, Scholastic, and Lion Hudson. She is happiest with a pencil or paintbrush in hand. You can connect with Janet on Instagram.
National Family Month Activity
Since the Baby Came Parents Resource Guide
You can download this helpful resource guide from Kathleen Long Bostrom’s website. It gives parents age-appropriate tips on preparing a child for a new sibling as well as fun and colorful worksheets adults can share with their child to involve them in choosing a name for the baby; drawing a portrait and album pictures of the family, including the new baby; a “Wheel of Emotions” that provides kids with the vocabulary to describe their feelings; questions adults can ask their older child to begin a discussion; and a fun puzzle.
Videos to Share
You’ll also find two videos of a mom and little girl enjoying two of the poems from the book.
You can find Since the Baby Came at these booksellers
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million
To support your local independent bookstore, order from
Picture Book Review