(I was given an electronic copy of the book for the purpose of this review).
You may recall that I’m a big children’s book fan. I wrote about my love affair with them previously (HERE) and mentioned I completed my Honours Thesis about children’s literature on my Instagram (HERE). So any opportunity I have to look at a picturebook, you’ll be sure to find me there!
Gilly-Elle Wiltshire is a children’s author who recently brought out an amazing story about IVF for children. It discusses in child-friendly language the process of IVF for parents and families in order to help children understand what and how it happens.
Following on from this brilliant book, Gilly is bringing out a new children’s book titled, “From the First Time” which she has kindly asked me to review.
From the First Time
From the First Time is a book that follows a pregnant woman’s journey to becoming a mum. It talks about her hopes and dreams for her baby, and follows her through her pregnancy into the early stages of motherhood (skipping the gory details of birth!).
This book uses gorgeous pastel colours and illustrations to match the rhythmic words of the story. Gilly uses rhyming couplets to help the story flow, almost like a lullaby. From the First Time immediately instills a soft, relaxing feeling in the reader, making it the perfect bedtime story for children. What makes this book even more fitting for bedtime is its gorgeous themes.
A Bedtime Story of Love
When I first read it, it instantly reminded me of my pregnancy with my Starfish. It took me back to the early days after his birth, where I would wonder and dream about his future. Both my husband and I (because I HAD to share this book with him) felt sentimental reading this book as it encompassed all the emotions we had experienced ourselves. What a perfect book to read at bedtime! To help lull your little one off to sleep with soft, rhythmic words full of love and emotion! I also thought that it would couple as a wonderful momento between mother (or father) and child for when they’re older – a gorgeous picturebook read to them at bedtime as a baby, that encapsulates all the parents’ feelings towards their child. You could even include your own ultrasound photo in the book (where the image is illustrated) as part of the gift! This book will make a great accompaniment for my Dear Starfish letters that I’ve been writing my son (HERE) to share with him once he is older.
A Great Resource for Older Children
Another thing that I love about this story is that it incorporates a perfect blend for children and parents. It is sweet, soft and rhythmic for the bubs, as well as gorgeous, charming and sentimental for adults. It also makes a fantastic resource for children as they get older to understand the process of pregnancy – for example, for an older sibling expecting a baby brother or sister. While it does not go into the gory details of childbirth, it does explain many elements of pregnancy that the mother will experience, including the associated emotions. For example, feeling scared with contractions, or feeling underprepared for the arrival of bub. This book can open up conversations between parents and children as children discuss their own emotions about having a new sibling, and the changes their mother is undergoing.
Every Mother’s Experience?
While I love this book as it relates to my experience of my son’s birth (and afterwards), I am also mindful that it might not reflect the experience of ALL mothers. Some mother’s may not feel those initial emotions of attachment and bonding – for some it can take days, weeks or even months. However what this book does do is encapsulate the overall love of a mother, no matter what circumstances she may go through to get there or when it might happen. There can be a lot of guilt behind those first feelings of warmth and bonding not being there – which is the main theme of this book. However I would encourage any mothers who may have had different experiences not to disregard this book – but instead see it as an overall reflection of the love you have for your child. This book can be used to discuss your whole journey together as mother and child – not only the initial days after birth.
Stamp of Approval
I can’t emphasise enough the importance of reading picture books to your babies (start young!). It helps their language development and is enjoyable for both mum and bub.
From the First Time by Gilly-Elle Wiltshire is a lovely book to add to your baby’s collection. In particular, it would make a great addition to their bedtime routine. Make reading a fun and sentimental family opportunity by adding this book to your repertoire, and open up a range of conversations for your children as they get older. From the First Time definitely gets my Stamp of Approval.