As she did in Baby Animals Spots & Stripes (2014) and Baby Animals Black & White (1998), Tildes uses detailed black-and-white illustrations to catch infants’ eyes, here highlighting four unusual animals.
At the same time she subtly and wordlessly imparts some pretty sophisticated scientific concepts. Tildes’ illustrations alternate between the diurnal chipmunk and otter and the nocturnal bobcat and skunk. Each animal is shown twice, awake and asleep on opposite pages, with only the black or white background hinting at the time of day when that animal is active. Although each animal is named, the more complex concepts are left for adult reading partners, or perhaps older siblings, to point out or ignore depending on the interest, age, and attention of their babies. This is an age-appropriate choice, but it relies on adults to supply the scientific vocabulary. A toy chipmunk and otter-, bobcat- and skunk-decorated clothing reprise the same animals in the final, full-color pair of images of a charming human baby. The purple-clad child is appropriately androgynous and also ethnically ambiguous, though this curly-haired darling is very pale.
A simple book with interesting possibilities for repeated reading, especially likely to hold the attention of both babies and their preschool-age siblings. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)