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HELLO BABY! by Mem Fox Kirkus Star


by Mem Fox and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Pub Date: May 5th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4169-8513-6
Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

A warm authorial voice asks baby, “Who are you?” and a parade of potential animals follows. Rhyming questions introduce furry and scaly candidates, creating an irresistible call-and-response, conversational reading experience. Young readers will surely answer each erroneous guess with an emphatic, enthusiastic “Noooo…!” Jenkins’s vibrant cut- and torn-paper close-ups of exotic animals appear on double-page spreads of ample white space, giving readers room to thoroughly consider both illustrations and text. Vivid swaths of color and texture capture elephant wrinkles, crinkly gecko skin and even warthog whiskers. A small, full-body silhouette of each animal appears as well, providing a glimpse of the creature in motion. Fox’s original language offers equally strong depictions of wildlife. She all but animates the stellar illustrations: A monkey fidgets with “clever” toes, a crocodile sits “silent and scary” and an owl gives readers a “wicked wink.” Anticipation builds as baby waits for the right answer, which comes as a sweet finish on the final page. This picture book brims with fascinating animals, brilliant words and engaging artwork; it begs for cozy nightly readings. (Picture book. Newborn-5)