Children’s movements and activities are compared with animals’ as seen through a caregiver’s eyes.
Barron’s paper-collage illustrations depict the motion of an animal alongside a child who moves, plays, or wiggles in the same way. Four-line rhyming stanzas accompany each two-page spread, with the animal and the text against a white background on the left and a full-color illustration of the child on the right. The action of each layout is a true match between animal and child; a baby crawls through the sand as a turtle drags itself to the sea, for instance. It is refreshing to see a smiling black baby on the cover as well as a nicely diverse cast of children and caregivers within. Barron’s collages are gorgeous. A particular standout, of a father and baby bundled up in the snow opposite a pair of emperor penguins, conveys depth and texture. Each piece of each illustration has a specific place and purpose. The text, however, falls short of the illustrations. Some stanzas have a nice rhythm and rhyme, while others read awkwardly, padded with animal sounds that seem to have been inserted as filler for lack of words to fit rhyme and scansion: “You're just like a duckling, / Riding on my back. / Splishing and splashing around the pool, / Quack, quack, quack, quack, quack!"
This one is worth it just for the illustrations even if the text falls behind. (Picture book. 2-4)