Books of Tribeca: In Mommy’s Belly

Tribecan Ryan Sobeck, whose day job is in wealth management at Goldman, has for years exercised his creative side with songwriting and fiction writing. (He publishes as jugo verde on Spotify and has been crafting a historical fiction novel that takes place in late 1800s NYC called “Out of Control.”.) But when his wife became pregnant, he found yet another outlet. The pregnancy apps the pair were using would track the size of a fetus by comparing it to fruit and vegetables — and he couldn’t get the images out of his head. It seemed a book was the obvious next step.

“I searched around and didn’t see any children’s books that centralized all of that information in a fun and approachable way, so I thought, maybe I can create something,” he said. He spent hours searching Instagram and the internet for an illustrator who had the aesthetic he was picturing, and found her in Aly Miller, an illustrated map maker and food illustrator. Then the pieces for “In Mommy’s Belly” came together quickly.

The book has a page for each week of gestation, with the corresponding fruit or veg illustration, some background (“Limes are part of the citrus family and they taste sour. They are used in juices, salad dressings and as garnish. A lime plant can live for 1,000 years!”), a fun fact (“Almost 95% of a tomato’s weight is water!” and, appropriately, a dad joke (“What do you give to a sick lemon? Lemon-aid!”).

“In Mommy’s Belly” is geared for children ages 0 to 6, and he imagines that expecting parents, grandparents, friends and caretakers — and families that have at least one child and are expecting another — will find it entertaining and even useful as a tool for explaining the arrival of a new child in the family.

While the book is dedicated to his now 11-month-old son, Miles, Ryan said, “it very much is an homage to my wife and the sacrifice she made for our family, something I’ll forever be grateful for.”

Find it here at Amazon.