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Baby Sign Language Basics (2009): Is It Bad When They Sign “Baby Eat Cat”?

Monta Z. Briant, Baby Sign Language Basics (Hay House, 2009)


A baby adorns the book's cover.

A cute baby on a cover will sell anything.
photo credit:

We actually somehow ended up with two versions of this—we have a sixth printing of the 2004 first edition, which is much smaller, and then a first printing of the relatively massive New and Expanded edition from 2009. (I added this header almost a year ago, I’m embarrassed to say, and the only reason I know I meant to review the expanded edition is because I put “2009” in it.) We’ve been sort of casually introducing the Bean (and ourselves, since my wife and I are also beginners) to sign language in a variety of ways, with Briant’s books, sets of flash cards, and the like. This expanded edition of Briant’s book, which contains over eight hundred signs, is by far the most comprehensive sign-related piece we own. The Bean loves it—he goes in stages with signing, but at story time, he pulls either this or the smaller book off the shelf at least twice a month and we go through a dozen or two signs. Because we’re not doing it daily/intensively, I can’t really comment on learning speed, though that’s individual for every kid anyway, but I can tell you that when we have it out, our son is engaged; the photos are well-done, informative, and approachable, with models who understand well that their pictures weren’t being taken solely for the positions of their hands. Man, I never thought I would say this about a book from Hay House, but Baby Sign Language Basics is pretty darn close to indispensable at Goat Central. (Note for clarity: no one in our house, nor in our extended family, is either deaf or mute; we are learning, and teaching the Bean, solely for informational purposes/in case the need arises sometime in the future.) ****

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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