When You Lived in My Belly


Children - Coming of Age
38 Pages
Reviewed on 11/10/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Joshua Soule for Readers' Favorite

When You Lived in My Belly, by Jodi Meltzer Darter, is a creative children’s story about what goes on inside the womb. As her baby grows bigger, develops, and becomes more active, each moment becomes more special for this happy mother. The book flows seamlessly and builds excitement and joy as a special bond is shared. Fingers and toes grow, hiccups happen, and all of those special developmental stages are well discussed and illustrated in a way that is exciting for children. Both educational and entertaining, Darter weaves a poetic description of what it was like when her son lived in her belly with a rhyming pattern comparable to that of Dr. Seuss.

I found When You Lived in My Belly to be incredibly beautiful, accurate, and sentimental--something that moms can share with their kids forever. The rhythmic, almost lyrical writing style is fun to read, and fun to listen to. A sure-fire way to entertain your children, and share a special moment as you discuss the unique bond between mothers and their kids. The illustrations, done by Caryn King and Jody King Camarra, are gorgeous, colorful, and informative to look at. I rated When You Lived in My Belly five stars because I could not give it ten. A true masterpiece in children’s literature by author Jodi Meltzer Darter, and a book that focuses on that special relationship; well done!

Deborah Lloyd

Most young children have questions about how they arrived in the world as a little baby. A wonderful way to explain the process of pregnancy to a child is detailed in this captivating children’s book. Each month is described from both the mother’s and baby’s perspective, with engaging drawings capturing the baby’s growth. The mother talks about the changes she experienced, from food cravings to her growing belly, to sleep difficulties in the last month. The development of the baby’s body and senses are illustrated from month to month. The inclusion of such things as morning sickness and an ultrasound image are also interesting additions to the story. Author Jodi Meltzer Darter has written an informative children’s book in When You Lived in My Belly.

While the text is certainly the most important part of the book, the delightful illustrations add more insight to the baby's growth. The drawings by Caryn King and Jody King Camarra will fuel a child’s imagination and bring the story to life for them. This book is meant to be used by parents to provide education to a child about pregnancy; yet, a child may spend hours simply looking at the pictures and asking many questions. The tone of the poetry is loving and exciting, as the mother shares the process for both her and her baby. Every child will feel reassured and cherished. When You Lived in My Belly by Jodi Meltzer Darter will be fascinating to young, inquisitive minds.

Marta Tandori

When You Lived in My Belly is a heart-warming children’s picture book, written by Jodi Meltzer Darter and illustrated by Caryn King and Jody King Camarra, that shows younger children how they came to be. Darter delves into the topic of pregnancy and birth – a sensitive subject to many parents – in a simplistic and straightforward manner. She focuses on what the mother in the story experiences, both physically and emotionally, and also the development of the fetus during each month. From the mother’s perspective, she covers morning sickness, eating more, her belly getting bigger, food cravings and gaining weight, coupling each of these events with positive reinforcement about being filled with joy over the prospect of being the baby’s mother.

From the fetus’ perspective, When You Lived in My Belly discusses the baby doubling in size and it having arms, hands, fingers, and toes, the baby’s constant movements as it flips, tumbles and bounces around, to it becoming so big that it’s running out of space inside the mother’s tummy. Told in stanzas written in rhyming couplets, the words are simple enough for young children to understand. Each word has been carefully chosen, not just because of the rhyming aspect, but because of the message of love and positive reinforcement evident in words like these, “When you look at my belly even today, Remember it was once your special place to stay.”

Each drawing includes images of the baby’s growth inside the mother’s womb. The images as a whole, thoughtfully created by King and Camarra, are fanciful combinations of vivid watercolor drawings and some photographs in collage format that complement each drawing. The overall impression is whimsical and delightful. The images include familiar drawings of building blocks and hearts and words like love and joy. When You Lived in My Belly is a thoughtful picture book that is the perfect vehicle for explaining to children how they came to be; a story that is sure to resonate with parents and those who are soon to be parents.

Jamie Michele

When You Lived in My Belly by Jodi Meltzer Darter is a children's book that walks a child through the process of pregnancy in a unique and creative way. Told in rhythmic and lyrical-styled verses, a mother tells her child what it was like for both her and them from the initial, exciting stages of pregnancy and all the way through to the birth itself. There is an equal focus on the mother's experiences, emotions, and physical changes to the growth and development of the child, as Darter writes in sing-song about cravings, movement, ultrasounds, and expectations alongside the baby's advancement from within. Each month is charted individually and accompanied by the illustration of the mother in a collage of drawings and photos, as well as a view of the baby (in the belly of Mom) in its current stage.

This is a really innovative way for a book to walk children through their in-vitro journey, and I applaud Jodi Meltzer Darter for the originality of When You Lived in My Belly. The writing is clear and concise, and the poetic nature of the narrative makes this fun for parents and children to read together. Overall, the composition of artwork is good and gives it the feeling of a scrapbook. There's also a page at the end for note-taking, whether a mother uses this to chronicle her own journey for future reading with a child on its way, or as a way to reflect with one who is snuggled up next to them in bed. This is a sweet little book with a positive, informative message that is delivered in a loving and fun way.

Leiann Lynn Rose Spontaneo

The idea of When You Lived In My Belly came about when author Jodi Meltzer Darter’s son asked her what it was like when he lived in her belly. The book describes the bonding of a mother and child from the first month on. At first, Darter explains to him, it is all about the excitement. Then the baby grows and grows. By month four, the mother can observe the baby on ultrasound. Next, by month five, the baby grows muscles. By month six, the mother is anxious to decorate the baby’s room. Then the baby opens his eyes and reacts to the sound of music. By month eight, the mother's belly is as big as can be. Finally, at month nine, Darter concludes that the baby is ready to meet his mommy. Once he does, she holds him and all is well.

The words of the story flow smoothly and the illustrations created by Caryn King and Jody King Camarra are adorable and explanatory. In the illustration, for example, in month five, the baby is labeled “champ” because of his growing muscles. Again, the wording by author Jodi Meltzer Darter is easy for a child to comprehend and understand. These days, a good book about a mother and child and their bonding is so hard to find. Often children want to know where babies come from. This book explains it as naturally as possible. This book, I think, should be read by every mother to her child so they can bond yet again, but this time when a child is old enough to understand.