Ninita may be a deaf pygmy marmoset, but she makes the most of life in her big world.
Ninita’s big world is not the Amazon rainforest, the native habitat of pygmy marmosets, the smallest monkeys in the world, but the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation in Loxahatchee, Florida. Ninita was born deaf. She took in the sights and warmth of her habitat, but she could not “hear the hum of mosquitoes and dragonflies [or] her parents’ voices.” Her parents abandoned Ninita when she was just 3 weeks old. In Coleman’s illustrations Ninita is adorable, with sad or happy eyes and cheerful expressions of wonderment as she finds a world of cuddly toys, warm blankets, ropes to climb on, and yogurt, rice pudding, and “fluffy whipped cream” to eat—this last licked from the tip of an enormous human finger that effectively demonstrates scale. She especially loves being groomed with a toothbrush. As she grows, she explores tall grass and dark caves (depicted as the hair of a white human caregiver and partially opened book, respectively). These adventures are made better when she’s introduced into a new habitat and meets a new marmoset friend named Mr. Big to share them with. A lively if highly anthropomorphizing text and endearing digitally created illustrations combine to demonstrate how even the smallest creatures can “climb as high” and “jump just as fast” as their peers in a world that supports their efforts. The human hands shown could be white or brown.
Young readers will love Ninita and learn to care about saving her habitat. (author’s note, bibliography, fun facts) (Picture book. 4-7)