Thursday, November 11, 2021

Made for Me - Zack Bush (Illustrations by Gregorio De Lauretis)

Of all the children that every could be, you are the one made just for me.  

...Tucked in tight, it's my heart where you'll stay.   Tomorrow I'll love you even more than today.

(Quotes from the book cover - Image from - This book was given to me for free in exchange for an honest review)

My Review: My nine-year-old daughter snagged this book straight out of the box when it arrived, before I'd even had a chance to really look at it and then accosted me shortly thereafter:  "Mama!! Have you read this book?!  It's soooOOOooo cute!!"  Ordinarily, I'd balk at her reading a book I am sent before I get a chance to preview it, but with Familius -- a publishing company whose motto is "Helping Families Be Happy" -- I'm not terribly worried about her getting the wrong message.  And, you know what?  She was right.  It is soooOOOo cute!  

In Made for Me a young father reminisces about the day he met his baby, the love that bloomed in his heart, and how, in one moment, his whole life changed.  As baby grows in the story, Dad talks about the child's increased curiosity, playfulness, and how excited he is to wake up each morning and spend time together.  With poetic lines like "It's now time to sleep.  Rest your beautiful eyes.  Soon the dark night will turn to blue skies," Made for Me is obviously best read cuddled up at bedtime, but short enough for everyday reading as well.  This particular version is a board book, my favorite kind of book for toddlers, and one that should last through countless bedtime readings.  

Made for Me is an adorable love note from father to child and a testament to how the role of fathers can be defined in many ways.  There are scads of books that feature mom as the primary caretaker, so it was absolutely wonderful to see illustrations (above and below) with a father fully involved in feeding his child, managing bath time, changing diapers, playing, and 'tucking in' at bedtime -- all the roles a father might not have been shown in twenty years ago.  I loved the exaggerated size difference between father and baby (as seen on the front cover).  Compared to the father, baby is so very tiny -- which is exactly how babies seem when you first hold a brand new one.  Contrast that with an enormous father, who undoubtedly seems larger than life in the eyes of his child.  Together, the two are simply adorable.  

It nearly impossible to write a book that will fit every reader, so if you're wondering whether this book will be the right fit for your little one, here are a few details that might help you decide:  

  • Baby has short-ish hair, neutral clothing, and is never identified by a specific gender.
  • The initial pages of the book show an expectant father sitting nervously, hat in hand, in a waiting room and then entering the hospital nursery. It's a very sweet moment and one that is certainly suitable for parents who were present for the birth of their child or adoptive parents who met their child the day they were born. 
  • Finally, the father's feelings about his darling child are almost universally applicable, but as the illustrations indicate, the characters in this book are light-skinned, which might make it tricky for those with darker skin to 'see' themselves and their loved ones physically-reflected in the story.  
I'm not pointing these things out to be critical -- because, obviously, I really enjoyed this book -- but I think it's important to present the facts and let parents decide what books are the best fit for their baby.  Ultimately, Made for Me is a tender tribute to the indescribably special relationship between father and child.  While it might not fit every family situation, it felt perfectly made for ours. 

My Rating: 4 Stars

For the Sensitive Reader:  All clear.

This book is also available in a Spanish translation, with the same illustrations - Naciste Para Mí.

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