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Publisher's Summary

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

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.

©2012 Pamela Druckerman (P)2012 Random House

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Good book, dreadful narrator

I liked the book well enough, but dear Lord, was it not possible to find a narrator who has at least a rudimentary understanding of French pronounciation?

The narrator butchers every French word and name and what's worse, she insists on reading every quote (which in the written book just written in plain English) in terrible overdone accents - I don't know if her attempt at a French accent (sounds like a drunk person with a Slavic accent) or British accent (has she ever even MET a British person???). If she would have just skipped the awful accents I could have lived with the the butchered French names but altogether it's just too much.

Hope this gets re-recorded with a different narrator!!

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wife made me read it

I think the actual information in this book is great and useful... but the story is bland and I do not like the writers personality. I opted for the audio version and it was a mistake. The reader uses a different voice for every gender/ethnicity/age and all except her natural voice is unbearable. It makes this book even more pretntious and annoying than originally intended.

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best pregnancy advice out there :)

Any additional comments?

So happy I found this book. Helps to keep a perspective in a preggo driven crazy world. Well written, funny, down to earth attitude and practical advice for pregnant and young parents. Recommending it to all I know. Cheers!

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Interesting content-very annoying reading style

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Overall I enjoyed the content and found it helpful and interesting.

What did you like best about this story?

Tips on how to raise a baby with good sleeping habits, and have an easier and more enjoyable life with a baby both for the parents and the child.

What didn’t you like about Abby Craden’s performance?

Her imitating a French accent was incredibly annoying, distracting, unnecessary.

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Excellent

Where does Bringing Up Bebe rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I can't stop talking to people about this book. I wish I would have read it when my boys were babies, but it is never to late to calm down as a parent. I am already seeing an improvement in my young kids and the way they are eating...so simple!

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enjoyed it

enjoyed it, found it very engaging and the author had great insights. will definitely be thinking of this book when child rearing in the future

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Delightful entertaining

First off, I'm not French(Paraguayan) - So, if you do not speak fluent French, then you might really enjoy bringing up Bebe. A previous reviewer mentioned the French translation was terrible, but it was quite entertaining to hear the narrator attempt to sound like a French strict parent would. Now, the actual content was very good! I really enjoyed the comparison the author makes between an American vs French parent. I loved some of the facts she threw in there- nutritional, educational and parenting style. I love how she describes the primary school system/child care. I definitely have to agree with her when she discusses how American parents allow kids to complain too much and also only eat a limited type of foods- I'm guilty of this as well so I have attempted some of her "French parenting feeding styles" and it has worked well, such as no snacking- except in the afternoon. Anyhoo, I loved the book- and I highly recommended it. I would have definitely liked to see more percentage facts but which would have made it a bit stronger.

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Must read!

Great food for thought! ! Wonderful way to integrate a different culture into one's parenting style.

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diversity

The author frequently mentions "anglophones" as though no other kinds of people would read her book. I am a brown middle class american with foreign parents and family in France. We grew up in the U.S. bilingual. Being bilingual or trilingual should be praised and not frowned upon in this country. I travel and love other cultures. Wish her book was more inclusive of other people.

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Finally

Any additional comments?

I loved this book. I like the idea that parents help shape their children with loving firm boundaries and lots of freedom and autonomy. I like that parents still get to have a life of their own. I love that children do not eat off a special menu, but are taught and encouraged to eat a full french meal (albeit smaller portions and less time). I like the relaxed air of not overworking so hard to give children the perfect experience of childhood at the expense of their parents, and sometimes even at the expense of the children themselves... ie over-scheduling. I like that children get to be the age they are not pushed to become more, achieve more and produce more than appropriate. I like that children are rewarded for being thoughtful speakers, competent, autonomous, community members.