A simple rhyming text celebrates some shared characteristics of baby animals.
Jackson catalogs a variety of animal offspring (“Babies can be smooth or hairy, / quail or whale or dromedary”) and their behaviors: “Tiger babies pounce and fail / when they aim for mama’s tail”; “Baby buffalo get grumpy. / Baby kangaroos get jumpy.” The rhymes have a brisk quality that will keep the pages turning. Wenzel’s bright illustrations, “rendered in almost everything imaginable,” will grab the attention of small listeners. The wild profusion of young creatures, leaping, tumbling, and running as animal parents hover and peer from foliage nearby, is hilarious. All have round eyes and a kind of manic look, on the stern side for the parents (perfect in the cranky protectiveness of the mama tiger) but ready to go and full of spark for the babies. Jackson uses the mostly frowned-upon “octopi” as a plural for “octopus” (possibly for the sake of scansion) but otherwise seems to avoid zoological missteps. The unspoken reassurance—all babies are loved—is there, along with the important affirmation that growing up is both a little bit messy and a little bit chaotic. Toddlers may especially relish their status as creatures slightly older than babies while enjoying the affectionate tone of the text and art.
Lots of fun. (Picture book. 2-5)