Motherhood, Marriage and Other Wild Rides

Health, Happiness and the Pursuit of Mommyhood

Top 10 Reasons the Hello, World book is the Perfect, Personalized Baby Gift October 11, 2013

Written by Jennifer Dewing and illustrated by Holli Conger

Written by Jennifer Dewing and illustrated by Holli Conger

My neighbors recently welcomed home their first child, a beautiful baby girl. My husband and I didn’t falter; we bought the biggest box of newborn-sized diapers we could find. Babies need to be changed an average of 12 times per day–a practical gift makes sense.
We were stumped about choosing a more personal gift to offer. The transformation of becoming a parent is life-changing. The overwhelming love that blooms within the heart deserves to be honored, nurtured, and celebrated. But how?
Hello, World! delivers on the top 10 list of what to look for in a baby gift. Written by award-winning author Jennifer Dewing and illustrated with adorable animals by artist Holli Conger, Hello, World! comes personalized with the new baby’s name and photo (optional). If you provide the parents’ names, the city where the baby lives and the baby’s birth weight, the book will include that optional personalized information as well. Like all I See Me personalized books and gifts, this new title makes a special gift and lasting keepsake.

1.     Make it a Keepsake. Personalizing this book with baby’s thoughtfully selected name will be something that baby (and the new parents) will treasure for a lifetime.

2.     Educational. Babies learn and develop right before your eyes. This gift is educational and helps to fuel the new baby’s brain development.

3.     WOW Factor Hello, World! is sure to get a lot of “OOOHS” and “AAAAHS” when opened by the new parents.

4.     Growth Potential. This gift grows with the baby. A special book is a gift that baby will use for years and keep forever.

5.     Picture Perfect. Any gift that can be customized with a baby’s photo is sure to be a hit with new parents. And, baby will delight in seeing himself or herself on the gift. (My “big kids” STILL loving seeing photos of themselves as infants. Me too!)

6.     Drool Over It. We’re talking “baby gift” here. Hello, World! is colorful and something baby will literally “drool” over.

7.     Cuddle Factor. Both parent and baby will love snuggling up with this story.

8.     Built to Last. Let’s face it, babies have curious and exploring little hands and mouths! This book is a quality gift that is built to last.

9.     Easy-to-Order. Hello, World! can be delivered to your special delivery within a couple weeks of birth.

10.  Made in the USA. Feeling patriotic? Hello, World! is made right in the USA.


*I was not compensated for this recommendation. Hello, World! is a high-quality, charming keepsake.


General Hospital celebs read kids’ books for Speakaboos! (pics) August 26, 2009

This article is from my Parenting column onthe L.A. editi0n of

Kelly Monaco, Rebecca Herbst and other cast members from ABC’s General Hospital taped a reading for a children’s book for Speakaboos on their GH set on August 20. With the celebs’ help (and the help of all Speakaboo celebrity readers), Speakaboo continues its cause to support reading and education for our youth.

15% of contributions to charityThe book will be available on and partial proceeds from their recordings will go to charities supporting children’s health and wellness.   
Speakaboos is an online publisher that celebrates classic literary properties for children such as Curious George, Arthur, Goldilocks, Snow White and Aesop’s Fables through the voices of today’s biggest stars including Kevin Bacon, Nick Cannon, John Krasinski and Kelly Ripa
recordingFeaturing storybook videos online with original illustrations and music accompanied by educational activities, games and contests, parents and teachers are encouraged to try the included story guides, lesson plans (based on national standards), and worksheets to reinforce educational lessons at home and in the classroom.  
genhosp3Speakaboos contributes 15% of all revenues to charities supporting children’s health and wellnesspartners with premier educational organizations such as the National Education Association
The entire Speakaboos library is available for viewing online for free on and available for download on the website at $0.99. Speakaboos’ goal is to try to reinvigorate the story telling process of classic children’s stories by having today’s hottest celebrities bring new life to these classic tales. 
You can hear some of our most popular celebrity-read stories on these links:
 For more info: Listen to all other celebrity tracks at Speakaboos.
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Kids Books Reviews – Candlewick Press July 31, 2008

For most adults, checking the mailbox daily is as banal and routine as flossing; My children, on the other hand, clamor daily to accompany me to the end of the driveway to reveal its mysterious contents. Imagine my children’s happiness when Candlewick Press kindly sent a bundle of books for us to review. I assembled my distinguished panel of judges (Joseph, age 3; Noah, age 1; Daddy, old enough), and we’ve spent the last week weaving these tales into our regular rotation. Here are our (not paid for) impressions.

Beep Beep and Choo Choo by author/illustrator Petr Horacek.

These books are simple, but hardly simplistic. Aimed at children 2-5, early readers enjoy fun words for sounds: “Chug”, “clack”, and “toot” go the train, “Vroom” and “whee”, go the car. Reminiscent of our favorite Eric Carle books, Horacek’s mixed-media illustrations and playful die-cuts make these colorful books re-readable. Of course, both my sons are enthralled with all things that go, but these stories are especially meaningful; Joseph carries around the Beep Beep book and wistfully contemplates the last two pages, featuring first a window behind which Grandma peaks out, and at last, arrival at Grandma’s house. (We miss you, Gramma!) And Noah, my potty-trainer who adores trains, cannot get enough of Choo Choo. He too finds magic on the final page, when the train pulls up to the beach (“hooray!”). We are fortunate enough to live only a few miles from a sunny California beach, alongside which a train faithfully captures my little beach boys’ attention every time it passes.

Roadwork by author: Sally Sutton; Illustrator: Brian Lovelock

This beautifully illustrated book also features zany sounds made by a variety of construction machines. Following the crew as they build a new road, the text reads with poetic cadence. I like this one at bedtime, because I can read it much the way I do Goodnight Moon, as a spoken lullaby. Very handy for me, the final page has illustrations for numerous types of digging and building machines, so mommy can finally call a front-end loader a front-end loader, and an excavator and excavator. (I’m sorry to admit that I’ve called more than one type of machine a “bulldozer.”)

MiniBugs Books by author/illustrator: Jessica Spanyol

Keith and His Super Stunt Rally Racer; Bob and His No. 1 Van; Giorgio and His Star Crane Train; Clemence and His Noisy Little Fire Engine
Let me first say that if you have little ones who LOVE things that go crash! boom! bang! and those crashes result in everyone happily soaking wet or being tossed high into the air, they’ll adore this collection of Mini Bugs stories. These books are fast and vigorous story-telling; please be advised at bedtime! I can’t help but think that Ms. Spanyol writes like a “cool aunt” who brings her nieces and nephews the noisiest toys, the kind which eventually drive parents to the brink. The drawings resemble something she might have scribbled in her notebook, which I believe speak to children’s sensibilities. These are some silly, raucous books–beware!