Thyra Brandt has created a most charming little book that is certain to become a lasting treasure in many households around the country. Min första gästbok is a fill-in book, but it is much more advanced than I expected. When I was six, I received an autograph book for Christmas, and I had all my extended family members and friends at school write in the book with their personal message and signatures. I loved it. Min första gästbok has space for thirty-four ”guests,” including two VIP spots for parents. (Although, truth be told, I do wish there were more than two spots for parents, as many families are like ours with three or more.) As the title suggests, these pages invite much more sharing than my autograph book did. On the left side of the entry, there is a timeline from 1910 to 2050 with instructions to add real or imaginary events and a small square in which a guest can draw his or her self-portrait. The right side has nineteen fill-in-the-blank prompts. I appreciate how loose and open the prompts are. ”Jag är” and ”Du är” top the list, followed by increasingly deep opportunities to share advice like, ”Det är farligt, ”Det är roligt,” ”En person att beundra,” and ”Tro på.” The VIP parent spots also include the best part of being a parent, how the child came into the world, and the child’s likes and dislikes.
My ten-year-old was not at all interested in the book because it looks ”babyish” in his opinion, but my seven-year-old was thrilled by it. She had her English-speaking father fill out the first page and then took it to school just as I did thirty years ago. The concepts and lengthy amount of writing were almost too difficult and definitely too time-consuming for her friends. In fairness, the book is being sold as something to buy for a new baby or as a christening gift. The adults in the baby’s life are meant to fill out the pages and offer their wisdom to be read and appreciated for years to come. To that end, the book is genius, and I would absolutely give it as a gift for a new family.
My daughter’s father’s advice is golden and not just because he wrote, ”Lyssna på your Mama.” He also told her she should visit Venice, to have fun on roller coasters, that he wants to teach her to fish, that she should always remember to say what she thinks, and to believe that all people are equally valuable. Even if the book is not meant to be filled out by seven-year-olds, I still get a big kick out of how my daughter’s friend responded. She wrote, ”Du är min vän…Lär dig Svenska…Det är farligt att klappa ett lejon…Tro på Tomten.”
Excellent advice, all of it.