Aspects of the birth process of a variety of animals are described in an inventive, often poetic text. The book begins: ""If you were born a kitten, you'd slip into the world in a silvery sac, and your mother would lick, lick, lick you flee."" For each creature--seahorse, chicken, porcupine, whale, opossum, snake, bear, mouse, elephant, and frog--Bauer (Alison's Wings, 1996, etc.) provides brief factual content in the ""If you were"" construction. The choice of the animals becomes clear when readers see the array of stuffed animals owned by the human baby to which this story is uttered. The pictures are always warm, conveying a sense of place that varies from woodsy locales to underwater habitats. Pastels on gray paper and Stammen's strong, scoured lines mute the representations of the parents and children, complementing the dreamy, melodious text. A perfect bedtime book, this also provides some simple answers to those first questions on reproduction.