July 19, 2024


always trying new things

Book Review – The Baby Name Countdown, by Janet Schwegel

Book Review – The Baby Name Countdown, by Janet Schwegel

Babble recently released its list of “The 33 Worst Celebrity Baby Names,” which included names like Tu Morrow (daughter of Rob Morrow), Fifi Trixibell (daughter of Bob Geldof), Pilot Inspektor (son of Jason Lee), and Kal-El (son of Nicolas Cage). I was surprised to see they left off Tallulah, Rumer and Scout (daughters of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis)! Nobody thinks twice when celebrities give their babies weird names, but most of us would certainly get a few pained expressions or even a few “What were you thinking?” comments if we named our daughter Moxie CrimeFighter, as Penn Jillette did.

Needless to say, the choice of a child’s name is very important. According to Janet Schwegel, author of The Baby Name Countdown, “many parents want a unique name for their child, something that sets them apart.” They may choose an unusual name, like Gwen Stefani recently did when she named her son Zuma, or just an unusual spelling, like Erykah instead of Erika.

So, how do you pick the right one? Schwegel tells us, “It isn’t enough to know what a name means or where it came from; you need to know how popular that name is.” A great place to get that information is in her book, The Baby Name Countdown: 140,000 Popular and Unusual Baby Names. The book is divided into three parts:

Part 1: The Top Names The Top 100 Girls’ Names by Region

The Top 100 Boys’ Names by Region
The Top 100 Girls’ Names from the Years 2001 to 2006
The Top 100 Boys’ Names from the Years 2001 to 2006
The Top 500 Girls’ Names-Rankings over the Last Century
The Top 500 Boys’ Names-Rankings over the Last Century

Part 2: Popular Names with Popularity Ratings, Origins, and Meanings

Popular Girls’ Names
Popular Boys’ Names

Part 3: Popular and Unusual Names with Popularity Ratings Girls’ Names-The Complete List

Boys’ Names-The Complete List

I had a lot of fun looking through the names in this book, which have all been compiled from actual birth records. Can you imagine a poor kid heading into school and having to announce her name is Somfechukwu? And I found it interesting that my oldest son’s name, Dylan, means “the sea” in Welsh, because he is currently studying Ocean Engineering in college! My name, Susan, means “a rose,” which has always been my favorite flower. Whether you’re expecting a baby, thinking about one, or even have already finished childbearing, this is a fun and interesting book to look through. (I’d also recommend it to fiction writers who are looking for names for their characters!) The Baby Name Countdown is one of the most comprehensive sources around for choosing names.