Felicity's New Sister

Short story collection published in 2006; author Valerie Tripp; illustrator Dan Andreasen, Susan McAliley, or Philip Hood


Felicity's been feeling extra cooped up this winter: she's been having to help her mother more since the new baby is due soon. When a neighbor suggests that Felicity, her mother, and her siblings could use a break at her grandfather's plantation, the family agrees and they set out, despite the concerns Rose (the cook, who has helped Mrs. Merriman deliver her babies) has that the baby will come sooner than expected. They set out in on a rainy day, and soon the horse and carriage go off course, crashing into a stream bank. Everyone gets out safely and takes refuge in a nearby empty cottage, but Mrs. Merriman is feeling contractions. As Rose tends to her laboring mother, Felicity has to brave the storm to get Rose's bag from the wrecked carriage. But soon everyone's efforts are rewarded: Mrs. Merriman delivers a healthy baby girl. Felicity suggests the name Polly, should for polliwog, as the baby was nearly born in a stream. As she bonds with her baby sister, Felicity's attitude toward the responsibilities of being the eldest changes for the better.

Looking Back

The historical section is about the traditions surrounding new babies in the colonial America. Many of the traditions are still familiar today, like welcoming parties, gift giving, and christenings. Others are outdated, like putting babies in corsets to encourage good posture or using wheeled walkers (dangerous nowadays; too easy for a baby to go down the stairs). Most babies then were born at home with the help of a midwife or female relatives. Upper class women rested for a week or more, up to a month, while slaves and lower-class women went back to work sooner. Of course, all babies were cloth diapered, but the diapers had to be fastened with straight pins. Safety pins weren't invented until the next century.


Felicity's dad isn't mentioned at all in this book.

Haha, the neighbor lady tells Mrs. Merriman that right after the crash is a bad time to have a baby and she should just wait. Obviously she's never had a baby! She does have the humility to admit when she's wrong though, and seems to be a kind, if misinformed, woman.

Felicity was born early too, as revealed in Happy Birthday, Felicity!

One of my friends had a baby eight days after my second was born. We both had midwives attend our labors, but I was at a hospital and used an epidural, while she had a home birth. Another friend had a baby about a week and a half before my second, and she used a birth center. I'm very happy that we have a nice variety of choices for childbirth, at least in my area.

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