As one would expect from so eminent an author, Babywatching
is a fascinating book that manages the difficult task of being scientific and still inspiring awe at this most miraculous of beings--the baby. But then striking this balance is what Desmond Morris is best at.
Each of the short chapters is headed by a question--what makes babies cry? How important is a mother to her baby? What comforts a baby?--which Morris then goes on to answer and justify his answer with historical and biological allusions. Morris writes fluently and with an elegant simplicity which adds to the book's appeal in that it avoids falling into the trap of seeming to push a particular agenda. A fact is included if it is relevant to discovering how it all feels for the baby, which is surely the best basis for any book about babies! The book doesn't have a bibliography, which is frustrating if you would like to follow through on any of the astounding facts; nevertheless this book is informative, compelling and a wonderfully easy read.
The reader will find much more in here than in the more run-of-the-mill baby books, which often seem to include the currently fashionable beliefs without being discriminating. For example, did you know that some babies can have temporarily lop-sided heads, sometimes until they are three or four years of age, caused by sleeping the same position each night? Or that a baby can influence it's mother to pick it up by dilating it's pupils? Or how about the fact that if a mother stays in close contact with a baby for the first 30 minutes of it's life, six hours later she can identify it by smell alone? Truly amazing.
This book is an absolute must-have for mums and dads, natural history fans, or anyone else interested in the human condition. --Alison Jardine
From the Publisher
An indispensable guide to the first twelve months of human life.