Publisher's Note:  

The secret behind France's astonishingly well-behaved children.

When American journalist Pamela Druckerman has a baby in Paris, she doesn't aspire to become a "French parent." French parenting isn't a known thing, like French fashion or French cheese. Even French parents themselves insist they aren't doing anything special.


Yet, the French children Druckerman knows sleep through the night at two or three months old while those of her American friends take a year or more. French kids eat well-rounded meals that are more likely to include braised leeks than chicken nuggets. And while her American friends spend their visits resolving spats between their kids, her French friends sip coffee while the kids play.


Motherhood itself is a whole different experience in France. There's no role model, as there is in America, for the harried new mom with no life of her own. French mothers assume that even good parents aren't at the constant service of their children and that there's no need to feel guilty about this. They have an easy, calm authority with their kids that Druckerman can only envy.


Of course, French parenting wouldn't be worth talking about if it produced robotic, joyless children. In fact, French kids are just as boisterous, curious, and creative as Americans. They're just far better behaved and more in command of themselves. While some American toddlers are getting Mandarin tutors and preliteracy training, French kids are- by design-toddling around and discovering the world at their own pace.


With a notebook stashed in her diaper bag, Druckerman-a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal-sets out to learn the secrets to raising a society of good little sleepers, gourmet eaters, and reasonably relaxed parents. She discovers that French parents are extremely strict about some things and strikingly permissive about others. And she realizes that to be a different kind of parent, you don't just need a different parenting philosophy. You need a very different view of what a child actually is.


While finding her own firm non, Druckerman discovers that children-including her own-are capable of feats she'd never imagined.

Bringing Up Bebe

by Pamela Druckerman

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Overall Review:  

New Yorker Pamela Druckerman whips up this charming memoir detailing her experiences raising children in France. The similarities and differences between American and French parenting were fascinating and I enjoyed learning more about French culture. Druckerman uses warm and witty prose to both bemoan her kids' misadventures and praise their good deeds. The chapter about getting kids to eat better was brilliant and I have started implementing some of the suggestions with my own kids. Bringing up Bebe is a fun, light-hearted read fraught with entertaining parenting observations.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  2 religious exclamations, 1 derogatory name, 2 f-word derivatives


Violence/Gore:  Parents threatening kids with a spanking; children hitting parents


Sex/Nudity:  Conversations about circumcision, perineal re-education, and child-bearing anatomy; author recalls seeing a friend's topless maternity pictures; implied sexual activity in movies, conceiving and among teenagers. A discussion regarding sex occurs in regards to pregnancy. 

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The author reports seeing a few pregnant women drink or smoke in France.

Reviewed By Rachel
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