Row Reads: Bears, Beaches and all the Feelings

I know a lot about kids... up to four months old. After that, no idea. Nonetheless, this is the internet, so I'll just remove my shoes, take a seat in your home and offer you my unsolicited opinion on child rearing.

I believe a few simple things: kids need to feel boredom, they need to learn to fail gracefully, and, despite the myriad extracurriculars out there today, the greatest gift we can give our children is to foster their love of reading.

So at her tiny age, Row is a card carrying Reader. The only thing differentiating her library card from mine is a little "J", for Junior, which gives her the library superpower of being able to return her books late with no financial repercussions (it's not very socialist to shake down babies).

Every week we pick a new array of books. Some of those books are awesome. Some of those books, as I'm learning, are mind numbing. Allow me to dissect them for you. This week we meet a dope ass bear, and learn about the ocean:

Dog Changes His Name.jpg

Dog Changes


His Name


This book is a subtle, yet I believe effective, way to teach your kids the fundamental skill of 'throwing shade.' We're introduced to lifelong friends, Dog and Bear. Despite being natural cousins, their relationship seems to be deeply rooted in semantics: in this reductive world, your name is who you are.

So when Dog, a serious people pleaser, decides to change his, Bear is rattled. Each of Dog's suggestions is met with condescension and in the end, Bear uses the intimacy of their bond to trick Dog into being just "Dog" again.

Verdict: It's cute and fun to read, I would take this book out again. Also, I'd like to know more about Bear and Dog - really flush them out as characters.

Little You.jpg

Little You

This one's a postpartum nightmare. If you're not already crying at the drop of a hat, this will fix that. I quite literally can't get through it without a choking up. Alternatively, if you've been wondering whether or not your spouse is a monster, this book can double as a truly useful litmus test. Anyone who doesn't tear up while holding their sweet child in their arms and reading this lyrical masterpiece is dead inside.

Verdict: Grab a glass of wine, curl up with this one beside the fire, and sob as you wonder if anyone ever loved you this much.

Kiss Tickle Cuddle Hug.jpg

Kiss Tickle Cuddle Hug

Ok, so the premise here is a straightforward photograph book featuring children's faces and their corresponding emotional needs. Emma makes a sad face, Emma needs a hug. Josh makes a shy face, Josh needs a pat. Alright. Makes sense. Got it.

Or do I? Because suddenly this book goes off the rails. Issac makes a monkey face, Issac needs a banana? Alright. I guess I just don't understand these post-millenials.

Verdict: This one is unintentionally wacky, but your baby will probably love the faces.

Beach Baby.jpg

Beach Baby

In less than one month we're going to be en route to Hawaii, effectively becoming those parents on a plane with a baby. In a valiant attempt to reason with Row, I thought this book could clearly cite the merits of the beach. Admittedly, I may have pinned too many of my hopes on this one.

But with starfish, goose, sand dollar, this book posits the highest points of any beach venture while conveniently leaving out sunburns, salt water in the eyes and sand in everywhere. I'll keep you posted on the plane ride.

Verdict: this West Coast sea lullaby is pretty and sweet, but Row's probably not buying it.