Jennifer Griffin certainly had the young twenty-something first-time mother-to-be in mind when she wrote Bring Back Beatrice! Within the first few paragraphs of the book, Ms. Griffin states her beliefs on baby-naming (that choosing a baby’s name is not to be taken lightly) in a very laid-back and friendly writing tone, while at the same time conveying to her readers that she’s somewhat of a real-world expert when it comes to naming babies. She has one Baby Naming Cardinal Rule: You can’t go wrong with something traditional, no matter how popular the name becomes. (Hence, the meaning behind the title comes to light.)
Among some of the things to consider when choosing a name, Ms. Griffin goes into detail on the importance of scansion (encouraging all baby-naming novices to consider the syllabic flow of the first and last names), vowel and consonant sounds (advising all future baby-namers to look for contrasting sounds in the names) and length (asking if the baby’s full name will fit on an American Express card).
She also recommends that baby-naming beginners should all try The Flaky Test–Whereas you insert the baby’s name into a sentence to determine whether or not it will work when he or she is all grown up. For example, Ms. Griffin asks the reader to imagine his/her child saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to welcome you aboard the aircraft. I’m your captain, [name]…”
Some other interesting tidbits on the book:
- The book itself is basically pocket-sized (about 4×6 inches), so it’s easy for mommies-to-be to tuck away in a purse and flip through to get ideas while sitting in the waiting room at all of those OB/GYN follow-up appointments.
- There are 1,108 baby names listed in the book, with a small background paragraph written about each one’s origins, including many present-day references (i.e. Aaliyah – an Arabic name…means “lofty” or “exalted.” It reminds Americans of the late R&B singer of the same name.)
- In addition to the background paragraph, Ms. Griffin gives spelling variations and possible nicknames.
One of the most interesting features of the book, however, was the alternative names section below each name description. In this small section, Ms. Griffin offered alternate suggestions for those parents looking to name their baby something similar to the aforementioned name. (i.e Some alternative names for Aaliyah include: Malia, Aisha, Leila, Latifah, Bashira, Farrah or Salma).
I picked up quite a few baby name books throughout my pregnancy, and Jennifer Griffin’s Bring Back Beatrice! was hands down, my fav. It had a little bit of everything that I was looking for–Practical advice, over 1,000 suggested names with some background info on each, as well as nicknames, spelling variations and alternative similar-sounding names.
Nikki Flores (aka CluelessMe) is an avid writer and reader. She first hit the blogging scene with the Clueless Newlywed Blog, which catalogued the unique adventures surrounding herself and her new husband. No longer a newlywed and expecting her first child, Nikki continues her telling her light-hearted stories at Cluelessme.com.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Workman Publishing. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.