22 March 2009
Review: The Australian Baby Guide
I often get sent books by publishers asking me to review them on the site. I was recently sent The Australian Baby Guide (rrp $29.95) from Goose Books. Here are my thoughts for those of you who are in the market for an Australia specific all-purpose parenting book:
-lots of practical information in easily digestible sections, nothing too overwhelming (but also nothing particularly new)
-well organised, very easy to find things
-provides a wealth of web resources for parents across Australia
-vox pop from mums and dads on a range of topics
-some of the information seemed outdated. For instance, given that I have a keen interest in maternity clothing and have spent a considerable amount of time in maternity shops and interviewing designers, I was surprised to see that many of the most relevant designers did not even get a mention. Rather, the usual suspects like Pumpkin Patch seemed to get pride of place (which leads me to my next point). Also, no resources for those mums in need of plus-size maternity clothing (Boo!).
-There is way too much advertising material in this book. The publishers never disclose how certain items/services make it to the top of their lists. It is no wonder that many of the independent or smaller businesses don't get a mention (probably because larger corps like Huggies have paid for ad space). Sections on 'Leading Brands' following each chapter seems out of place and inappropriate.
-Considering all of the information that the guide does contain, I was stunned to see two areas in particular neglected: 1) eco-parenting/natural parenting resources and 2) pregnancy body image resources. With the threat of climate change upon us, I would have liked to see more info on 'green' pregnancy and sustainable parenting methods (recycling, cloth nappies, organics). Maybe I'm biased but the lack of body image resources for pregnant women seemed, to me, to be a considerable oversight. Given the focus on maternal obesity, postpartum weight loss and pregorexia panics in our current cultural climate, it seems astounding that the otherwise comprehensive guide has no resources for women suffering from pregnancy eating disorders or who want info on coping with weight gain.
Rating: 2.5 stars
Overall: good resource for basic info on pregnancy and parenting, some info pertinent to raising older children and lots of web resources for those who are internet savvy. Less useful if you are attracted to more alternative approaches to parenting and definitely not so great if you favour small, independent retailers.