Shelly Unwin and Jedda Robbard – Hello Baby

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021

This charming picture book with words by Shelly Unwin and pictures by Jedda Robbard is the perfect gift for people expecting a baby into their lives. It would also be a lovely read for parents and grandparents wishing to spend time with the sibling of a newly arrived or expected baby.

Barbie talks to Shelly Unwin about Hello Baby

Hello Baby shows so clearly how precious each baby is and how important all of the firsts are – and would thus be a reminder to the little one of how much loved he or she had been at that time, and continues to be onwards into childhood.

The story covers growing in the womb, arrival, the features parents admire in their newborn, games and other ways parents communicate with their baby through singing and reading. It talks about hugs and being held, speculation about how the baby will grow in the future, crawling, walking, the magic of each new learning and happy loving bedtimes.

All in all, it is a celebration of the birth of a child and of family life, even providing a space for baby’s first photo.

Told in gently lilting rhyme, the book is illustrated by Jedda Robbard with soft and cuddly images mostly of animals and their babies, until the last page when we see a variety of human babies all snuggled in their grow-suits. It’s full of joy and warmth and will make a delightful addition to home library shelves. It’s destined to be beside many Australian children’s beds for that precious sleeptime story.

Shelly Unwin is a great advocate of reading to children from a very young age, holding parent workshops on the importance of early literacy experiences for children. Her latest book will be a much-thumbed vehicle for this.

Thank you Allen & Unwin for my review copy and Shelly for such a lovely conversation about your work.