In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Baby animals. Too cute.

Dear Aunt Debbie,

We are immersed in books.  And largely, thanks to Isabel's preferences, my parents, and your most excellent birthday box, we are immersed in books about baby animals.  There is just insane cuteness happening in our house all the time.

I'm going to keep this post focused on the photographs-of-baby-animals books, leaving aside the drawings-of-baby-animals books for another time.  For her birthday, Isabel received three new ones with excellent documentary photos.

Big Babies, Little Babies, the one you sent, is a DK Publishing book.  I like seeing their symbol -- it makes me think of all of their awesome art books, and I know that the visuals will be of high quality.  This book is no exception: it's filled with excellent photos of animals in their natural habitats, meerkats and opossums and otters and pangolins, and on and on, nuzzling their young.  Each double-page spread contains a lot of interesting information about the animals.  From the ostrich page: "Both parents sit on the eggs until they hatch.  Mom does the day shift, since her feathers are speckled and she's hard to see against dry grass.  Dad's black, so he takes over at night."  I could do without the thought bubbles coming out of the animals' heads: the baby rhino announces: "Hello!  My mom will look after me for about three years.  By that time, I'll be almost as big as she is."   A little too cute for my taste.  But that's a minor complaint about a book that will clearly be useful and enjoyable for a long time.

Baby Animals In the Wild
and Baby Animals On the Farm (from my parents) are from the same Kingfisher board book series, which lists no author, usually a sign that the text isn't going to be brilliant.  Isabel is already into them, flipping the hard pages and staring intently, trying to recognize them as either "Cat!" or "Woof!", her two animal words.  Each page is written in the voice of the baby animal (is this what people want?  I guess I should just get over myself and succumb to the cuteness), and has words that are stretched or bent or wiggly to emphasize their meaning ("hidden" is in a smaller font; "rivers" is kind of bumpy).  The baby hippo floating under water is criminally adorable.

And then there's the book Isabel discovered by herself at the library this week: Baby! Baby!, by Vicky Ceelen.  Each double-page spread contains two pictures: on one side, an animal baby; on the other, a human baby looking eerily like the animal, due to body positioning, facial expression, or both.  This is a brilliant book.  It is completely wordless, the pictures (most in color, a few of the animals in black and white) are sharp and engaging, the babies are a pleasantly diverse assortment, and each page is bordered in a block of pastel color.  Isabel can't stop looking at it.

I think this is my favorite spread:

That pretty much says it all.

Love, Annie

No comments:

Post a Comment