THE WILD, WILD INSIDE

A. VIEW FROM MOMMY’S TUMMY!

A tale that means to impress with its ingenuity ends up instead presenting a confusing take on what goes on in utero. The notion that babies spend their time eating, sleeping and kicking in the womb is upended by a plucky unborn infant who is quick to correct these assumptions. When this baby isn’t leaping across a stage, it’s driving a spaceship or winning a baseball game. Mommy’s explanations about the baby’s life are all wrong. The one time Mom is right? Only at the end when she says the baby is ready to be born (but here she’s wrong too, as she says the baby is kicking “A LOT” when instead what she’s feeling are contractions, of course). It’s certainly creative, but eschewing the usual new-baby practicalities makes this book just too fanciful and muddling for anxious about-to-be siblings. Certainly Huliska-Beith’s thick paints catch the eye as she cleverly mimics Mommy’s activities with the baby’s imagined adventures, but even so, this effort is likely to provoke a slew of baffled questions with its skewed view into a fetus’s world. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4169-4099-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2010

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BECAUSE YOUR DADDY LOVES YOU

Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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