Book Review – Teach Your Baby German by Penton Overseas

Title: Teach Your Baby German
Publisher: Penton Overseas
Format: Audio
Written & Published: 2006
Languages: English and German

Teach Your Baby German consists of a double sided page of notes and one audio CD with a running time of approximately 24 minutes. It is aimed at children under three years of age, and comes with instructions for how parents can teach their baby in fun and interactive ways. The topics it covers include counting, parts of the body, colours, clothes, animals, other common words and short phrases. Its brief length hopefully means that children will not become bored of the program before they begin to grasp the concepts it contains.

One of the best parts about this program is that it provides a different range of language to what adult oriented training focuses on. There are many terms that are important to small children that the average tourist is not going to deal with…at least, I assume the average tourist will not have to ask questions such as “did you dirty your diaper” and “why are you crying”. But maybe you will; I’m not here to judge what you do in your spare time.

The specialist nature of the program means that the audience is very narrow, and it is not very useful for extended family or friends who want to interact with children in German. Lengthy instructions for how to teach the baby are embedded into each track, so if you hit next to skip over how to make coloured flashcards you will skip over the actual colours as well. I do not need to be told that babies enjoy playing with pieces of felt more than once.

I find the background music infuriating. It is a nursery themed song that would probably inspire me to bludgeon my child with the CD if I had to listen to it every day for a week. Simplicity in the translations is well aimed, but the instructions leave me wondering if I am expected to be stupid as a parent. I like cutesy things, and this was too cutesy even for me.

This was probably an adequate program to work through, but I am glad that I borrowed it from the library and did not pay for it. I wrote out the words that I was only learning from this program, put them up on the wall, and asked my German partner to help me talk through them until I was confident. I could have done that just as easily with an online translation program, and with far less aggravation. Despite repeated attempts in different moods, I have been unable to bring myself to listen to the entire CD in a single sitting, which is a high abandonment level. For this reason, I am giving it 2 out of 5 pages.

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