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I’m astounded that I am astounded that, in fact, having another baby means I have less time to blog and not more!

This new baby makes me busier than I ever have been (who knew?) and at times the number of chores and tasks seems to have doubled as if I had 4 kids instead of 2!

But if the work has increased exponentially, then so has the joy, fun and love.

Sometimes when I look at my new daughter I feel as if the universe has cracked open once more and let pure magic flood into my life. (For the musical interpretation of this particular feeling please listen here!)

And I was so touched and thrilled when Trish from Groundwood Books sent me a lovely board book that seemed to capture it all in print form:  This New Baby by Teddy Jam and illustrated by Virginia Johnson (ISBN: 978155498088, Groundwood Books, 2011).

This just-re-released delight remains the perfect book for my own little doe-eyed active Quincey with its gorgeous watercolour illustrations and lovely lyrical text, it as gentle as it is powerful!

An artfully displayed portrait of "This New Baby" from Virginia Johnson's blog

I love the work of Matisse and these fresh images by textile-designer Johnson evoke the type of feelings I always get when experiencing abstract art – an engaged calmness and isn’t that a state of mind we all are seeking? Her art makes this 1998 classic fresh & new again!

I also love the simple poetic text which really captures the wonder and other-worldliness of a Mother caring for her infant through the night. Night time is a magical time with an infant. It’s surreal and despite what others may tell you – a sweet time in bonding despite the whole lack-of-sleep thing.

And with all those new synapses beginning to form in the newborn brain it’s best to introduce your baby as early as possible to the creative joys of poetry and art. Delight your own baby with a bedtime story as soothing and sublime as this one!

For me this was also a timely companion, a reminder of what is so mysterious, blissful and unique about our own new little baby. Sometimes there is the urge to compare our babies and while you find similarities, more often than not you realize already they are so different.

Teddy Jam was the pseudonym for author Matt Cohen (See Facebook friends, I’m not the only one!) who is the author of some wonderful children’s books including The Year of Fire, The Kid Line and The Fishing Summer and also the author of adult fiction under his real name. His final novel, Elizabeth and After, won the 1999 Governor General’s Award for English-language Fiction only a few weeks before his death.

He had been nominated twice previously, but had not won, in 1979 for The Sweet Second Summer of Kitty Malone and in 1997 for Last Seen.

Cohen/Jam was also nominated for a Governor General’s Award for children’s literature in 1997, making him one of the few writers ever to be nominated for the GG Award in two different categories in the same year, although it was unbeknownst to many as his pseudonym was only revealed after his death.

Johnson is a super-successful Canadian (woot woot!) textile designer who has attended Parsons and worked with designers  such as Helmut Lang and Kate Spade. She first paints her unique colourful designs in watercolours before they are silkscreened onto to-die-for fabrics. Seriously, her pillows could inspire a whole living room re-do so check out her website very carefully!

This is her first children’s book illustration and hopefully not her last!

This New Baby is a must-have for the nursery shelf and for those tender night nursings and as I can attest, a wonderful gift for a new second (or third or fourth) baby!










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