Book Reviews Naming your Baby a Baby name Dictionary by Julia Cresswell

The test was definitely positive. You’re pregnant. You get more and more excited as you go to midwife appointments, scan appointments, and possibly even find out your baby’s sex. You start looking at baby clothes in stores, and can’t help daydreaming about what it will be like after they’re born. Somewhere in all of this excitement, it is inevitable that one moment will occur.

You and your partner will look at each other, and one of you will ask, “What are we going to call them?”.

Picking a name for your baby is fun, but it can be difficult. There are so many names to choose from, and yet suddenly you may not be able to find anything that you like. You probably want some original, but that they won’t get teased for. How do you choose?

Naming Your Baby, by Julia Cresswell, is one of the best compact baby name books that I have seen. In 245 pages, she manages to cover a wide variety of both girls’ and boys’ names. I was impressed by the scope of names covered. The book included all of your standard names (Mary, Thomas, Emily, etc.), but it also included names from a variety of backgrounds, including Chinese, Indian, and Welsh. Old-fashioned, traditional, trendy, and modern names are all given attention.

Many baby name books only give a brief definition of a name’s meaning, and the books often contradict each other. This book, however, went into more depth and seemed better research. The origin, history, and associated meanings of names were well discussed. Associated names were also linked together, so that you could look up one name and be referred to other names that were related to it (for example, alternate spellings of a name or “pet” names that are used in their own right). I really liked how it also included famous examples of the name, whether it be a celebrity, historical figure, or literary character. It also, as applicable, provided information about the popularity of the name. Not only did it mention which names are well used, but also where they are popular (in the US, UK, Australia, etc.).

If you are looking for a baby name (or a name for anything else for that matter), this is a great resource. It can be fun to flip through and look at all the names. Even if you already have a name in mind, you will enjoy looking the name up and finding out its history, meaning, etc.