Item description for The Best Baby Name Book: In the Whole Wide World by Vicki Lansky...
More Names, More Up-To-Date, More Helpful And More Fun Than Any Other Baby Name Book * over 13,001 boys' and girls' names, nicknames and variations * origins, meanings, and famous namesakes * the most popular names In the US. and around the world * advice from "Dear Abby" * 15 steps to selecting the right name for your baby * psychological stereotypes of popular names * how to change names and famous people who did * current baby naming trends * fascinating facts about names * how to make the best final decision on your baby's name
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7" Width: 7.32" Height: 0.33" Weight: 0.38 lbs.
Release Date Oct 18, 1984
ISBN 0671544632 ISBN13 9780671544638 UPC 076714005006
Availability 143 units. Availability accurate as of Jan 22, 2017 01:36.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Vicki Lansky
Vicki Lansky has been a trusted name in parenting advice and household hints since she first published FEED ME I'M YOURS in 1975. She collects practical ideas and offers easy-to-use information on issues ranging from recycling to ear-tube surgery to potty training. She has written for Sesame Street, Parent's Guide and is a contributing editor to Family Circle magazine. She has made numerous TV appearances on programs from Oprah to The View. Her books have sold over 6 million copies. Vicki is an author/publisher, mother and grandmother and resides in Deephaven, Minnesota. Illustator, Martha Campbell is also a freelance cartoonist having sold over 30,000 cartoons to hundreds of major trade and professional publications. She lives in Harrison, Arkansas.
Vicki Lansky currently resides in Minneapolis, in the state of Minnesota.
Vicki Lansky has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Best Baby Name Book In The Whole World?
Lots of Info Jan 26, 2007
My husband and I really enjoyed this book. It gave a lot of information and things to consider when chosing a name. Mr. Lansky chose fairly common names from recent popularity. So if your looking for a book that will give you an idea for that unusual or elusive name this isn't the book for you, but you might still enjoy it for it's other apects. There is an interesting segment on celebrity names.
Easy to read! Jan 18, 2007
I really enjoyed this baby name book because it was easier to read and didn't have 10,000+ names in it. If you are looking for more traditional names and variations, this is the book for you!
Entertaining, but poorly researched. Dec 3, 2006
I have a huge collection of baby name books, and consider this one to be one of the most poorly researched. It contains a few articles at the beginning which are entertaining (but fairly standard, as baby name books go), but the meat-and-bones of this book is the list of names themselves. The origins and meanings of names in here are inaccurate more often than not. For example, it lists the name "Gladys" as being Celtic for "princess." In all my 20+ years of researching names, I can't even begin to fathom where that origin came from.
In order to make the claim of being the "very best" - it relies upon the number of names it has. However, that number is largely made up of coming up with bizarre spellings and strange nicknames for already existing names (like Kore for Kora, Imojean for Imogen...).
So, if you're simply looking for a list of names to choose from, this book is OK. If you're looking for actual factual information about name origins and meaning, stay far, far away from this one!
Best Used Before Naming Your Baybee! Feb 4, 2006
One of the oafish ladies in my wife's Big Readers Book Club recently had twins (one boy, one girl) and she could've really used this book before naming the screaming mutants "Cooleena" and "Rupappy". I suppose that's better than what her equally idiotic husband named their blue heeler ("Muttplug"). Lansky's book really could help a lot of people. Provided they receive it in time...
Beyond Rosenkrantz and Satran Nov 23, 2005
Nowadays, of course, the first question one asks upon hearing that friends are "expecting" is no longer, "Have you picked out a name?" but rather "Do you know whether it's a boy or a girl?" But then that makes the now second question all the more in need of a precise answer.
This once timely book has a breezy, easy-to-read and sprightly quality. It does not, unlike the more recent tomes by Rosenkrantz and Satran, claim to be the "last word on first names" ("Oh, wait, we take that back: the NEXT book will truly be the last word on first names, unless of course, it isn't and we have more to blab on about.") Bruce Lansky's book merely (somewhat self-mockingly) claims to be the BEST BABY NAME BOOK IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD.
I have the 1991 edition, which by rights should be already passe, for as Lansky himself writes, "...every decade a new group of names rises in popularity, as names associated with a previous generation of babies decline." So just how dated is the information on naming trends here? Well, 15 years is certainly a long enough time to see trends come and go. So the Top 100 Girls' and Boys' Names listed here have doubtless seen many comings and goings. Is "Jessica" still at the top of the heap? Have the "Ashleys" come and gone? Has the spate of "J" names so prevalent in the 70s and 80s finally sputtered. (Aside from the aforementioned "Jessica," there was, of course, "Jennifer," "Jason," "Joshua," and "Jared"--but not really "John," which by that point had morphed to its Irish form "Sean," but could be due for a comeback any time now.)
Lansky's approach is streamlined and eminently practical. Whereas Rosenkrantz and Satran become downright "prescriptive" at times, he prefers to offer points to consider: should you name a child "after" a parent or other relative; what about unisex names; the issue of popularity vs. uniqueness; stereotypes attached to certain names; the etymological meaning of a name (a less important concern for him than in many older books): and several other considerations.
Many prospective parents will find the sections on stereotypes and popularity of interest. Many of the stereotypical associations listed are no surprise: Adam and Brooke are attractive; Brian and Chris are athletic, etc. And did Madonna realize that daughter Lola might be stereotyped as "sleazy" at some point in her life. (Well, hey, it IS Madonna, after all--but then Lola's real name is "Lourdes," which is actually very Catholic and traditional, and ironically also very Madonna, verdad?)
Speaking of celebrity (and in keeping with the "image" question), there is section on celebrity name changes, which is worth perusing, but not all that surprising. Many of these, you are likely to have heard before (that Roy Rogers was born "Leonard Slye," for instance). Some "changes" are pretty obvious and not at all dramatic. Benjamin Antonio Gazzara became "Ben Gazzara"? Newsflash: he would have likely shortened it like that even if he had become a used car salesman. And I doubt very many people would think that Orenthal James Simpson's decision to go by "O.J." was a significant name change per se. (Although I'm sure there are many who nowadays might prefer that he be officially known as "California Prisoner #300810" or something on that order).
Certainly, no one will be surprised that the Marx brothers' real given names were NOT "Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo"--even if they can't tell you exactly what they were. And there are some actual errors here (I'm pretty sure). Lee Remick was born "Lee Ann Remick" not merely the simpler "Ann Remick" listed here. The equally unisex named Dale Evans was born "Frances Octavia Smith," not the unisex homonym "Francis" listed here.
But those are pretty minor mistakes. It's still a fun listing to peruse. And some of the other tid-bits of naming lore thrown in are hysterical. The "Truth Stranger Than Fiction" roster is a hoot and a half, including such monikers as: Dillon C. Quattlebaum, Lieselotte Pook, Peenie Fase and Lolita Beanblossom.
The actual roster of baby names for your condideration, with notes and definitions, is where things get a little loosey-goosey. Most of the definitions are accurate--and we've already seen that definitions are but one of many considerations. It's understandable that Lansky would not dwell on the etymologies as such. But if you're going to do it at all, be consistent and accurate. There are many names whose origins are disputed, true. In that case, it's best to list the various possible sources and suggest the most likely. Is "Alice" from the Greek "truth" or the Old High German "noble"? And once you've established that, is "Allison" a variant of that name, as listed here OR (as listed under a separate entry) a name that is either from the Irish Gaelic for "truthful" (is Gaelic related that closely to Greek??) or Old German for "famous among the gods" (even better than being noble).
And when masculine names are feminized, does it make the feminine form all the more feminine? Names like "Carl/Charles" and "Andrew" have roots that mean "manly." They also gave rise to numerous feminine variants (the ones from "Charles" alone include: "Carol(e)," "Caroline," "Carolyn," "Carla," "Carlene," "Carlotta," "Charlotte," "Charlene" ad infinitum or nearly). But do these names mean "womanly"? No, they are feminine forms of a name that means "man" or "manly." That's the etymology, anbd you can't change it. That does not make them less feminine names. Many will consider them quite feminine, beautiful and almost regal. But that doesn't change the linguistic roots.
But in the last analysis, as Lansky suggests--and as other such as Rosenkrantz and Satran lay on with a trowel--it's really the sound and the image of a given name that counts. That's why "Cameron" is now popular for both sexes, even though its meaning (as cited here and elsewhere) is "crooked nose." Could be worse, though, Lansky gives the etymology of "Brendan," another popular name, as being Irish Gaelic for "little raven." I've seen it elsewhere as meaning "stinking hair." So much for that one--"Would Stinking Hair O'Rourke report to the main office please?" Yikes!
Overall a fun read, and a practical guide for parents.