Reader Question: My friend has a newborn + two kids under 4

Hey Dr. V,

I’m visiting a friend of mine this weekend who just had her third(!) child—-a boy. My friend already has two little girls; the oldest is 3. I would like to bring them a small gift. I was thinking a book, but I don’t know what to get. Ideally, it would be for the baby, but realistically, I know the older girls are probably going to be the ones who actually read it first.

Do you have a recommendation?


Why yes, I do!

My friend, the book you need is Ollie, by Olivier Dunrea. I would recommend the board book option, given the ages of the other kids (also, holy buttwipe warmers, your friend is a BEAST). 758509

Ollie is part of a collection of books about a little passel of adorable and adorably drawn goslings and other water fowl written and illustrated by Dunrea. These make great new-baby gifts, particularly for new babies with slightly older siblings, because:

  1. These books are cheerful and bright, yet have a unique…almost elegance about them. Where the fashion in children’s book illustration seems to be chunky blocks of color and high contrast, Dunrea opts for fine, delicate lines, which lend the images a sort of softness that fits the whole swaddled-newborn vibe.
  2. Each book models, in some small way, how to be nice. In the first of the collection, Gossie, Gossie searches high and low for her prized red galoshes; when she finds them on the feet of her copycat little sister, Gertie, she is surprised…….but chooses to share. The book doesn’t make a big deal about it: the central conflict isn’t between the sisters, but rather the journey of looking for the lost boots. But the small moment will stand out to parents just the same, as a quiet example of how awesome life can be if everybody is chill about sharing. gossie-gertie-bf-480
  3. With lots of  characters, each with his or her own special “thing” or personality trait, there’s bound to be one that fits your particular situation. I recently gifted Gossie  and Gossie and Gertie to a pregnant friend with a young daughter who happens to be obsessed with a pair of galoshes of her own. Plus, they’re
  4. quite inexpensive. Huzzah!

In your case, Ollie is great because it’s about Gossie and Gertie getting a new little brother. Ollie is in his egg, and they’re waiting for him to hatch, and trying different tactics to get him to come out, and the whole thing is ridiculously cute and also quite nicely mirrors your friend’s two little girls getting used to the strange new teeny creature in their home. The title character is the strange new teeny creature, but the actors in the story are his older sisters who have been thrown for a loop. Since, despite being the reason for your visit, the newborn will be the least interesting and interested-in-you member of the family, a book like Ollie should break the ice nicely.


I hope this is helpful. Have a lovely visit, and godspeed to your friend.