by Marguerite Kelly and Elia Parsons
A first impression of this book is similar to that of a child confronted with cod liver oil: yuck! The authors’ tone is clearly meant to be charming and comforting, however it frequently seems coy and intrusive. But upon more careful scrutiny, any mom should find The Mother’s Almanac a sensible companion on the sometimes bumpy journey of bringing up baby (the advice ranges from pregnancy to age 6).
The book offers a broad array of practical advice on such topics as setting up a baby-sitters co-op, child-proofing your house, coping with tantrums, bringing an unruly 18-month-old into line (“By mid-One, the bloom of rosy motherhood gets paler every day, and it’s time for some negative discipline. Corners must have been invented for this”). Kelly and Parsons also offer creative tips on Gardening with a toddler, cooking eggs Benedict with a 6-year-old, crafts, science experiments and more. In fact, there appears to be only one piece of vital advice that is missing from The Mother’s Almanac. And that is, how Mother can get more sleep. (Doubleday, $16)