Corine Dehghanpisheh delivers a short, pleasant tale with a modern-day moral in her picture book #BabyLove: My Toddler Life.
In this story, an unnamed toddler begins his day with excitement: “Today Mommy and I have lots to do, like counting, coloring, and painting too…” As he enjoys his activities, the illustrations show him through the lens of a smartphone; his mother is photographing and recording every moment, posting them online with the hashtag “#mommyandme.”
When Mom’s phone is left unattended, the boy grabs it and entertains himself by taking “selfies.” Eventually caught, the boy is admonished, and he and his Mom review the pictures together as she says: “You have grown so fast./How can that be?” After a quick hug, they get back to the business at hand: “We put down the phone/and start to play.”
This is a cute and relevant tale, and the author’s intended message is fully elucidated in the book’s back cover: ”what matters most in life is time together filled with love and attention” and, we should all “put down our phones.”
But while most of the book indeed illustrates the importance of shared time, the author’s message that we shouldn’t be so reliant on our phones is somewhat undercut by the fact that Mom’s smartphone features so prominently throughout. Mom is clearly enjoying the use of her phone, even as she tells her son the phone is “not for play.” Still, there’s a quiet and serenity to the final illustration showing Mom and son playing, the phone left alone on a nearby table—a feeling that makes the case for undistracted time together as eloquently as any words could.
Dehghanpisheh’s illustrations and text are simple, colorful and charming, and many families will relate to the question of how, and how much, to integrate technology into their child’s day. #BabyLove: My Toddler Life is a fun and timely picture book for 21st century preschoolers.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.