written by Dorothea DePrisco
2017 (Liberty Street)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
A bunny's nose has more than 50 million receptor cells. (Human noses have 6 million.)
Must not do it. Can't say it. Have to hold back. NO, NO, NO, here it comes: "AWWWWW". I tried, but the cuteness bowled me over. A photo of a St. Bernard puppy will do it every time. But cuteness will only take you so far. You need to drop knowledge in an interesting way that will satisfy young readers, parents, and teachers. Baby Animals brings it. Each spread starts with a summarizing paragraph in larger font that's a good fit for late first grade to second grade eyes. Then you get a mix of more in-depth fact boxes and text features accompanied by engaging photos. Sections are tabbed by what is featured. A dark green tab is attached to a spread that shows ways in which baby animals grow and learn. For example, Making Changes focuses on how animal features change as they age. The blue eyes of a bobcat kitten will turn green or brown when they are adults. A light blue tab spotlights habitat facts. Other tabs show ways people interact with animals and how animals adapt to their environments. A yellow tab means a single animal is the star of that spread. A large photograph with labels bring out facts about the body of the animal. Red panda cubs have flattened teeth that help them chew bamboo. They even have a thumb-like growth that allows for better gripping of bamboo and other food. A fact box called Info Bites gives their animal group and location. For fun, there is a check-off box. One box asks if the red panda is a candidate to invite over for a sleepover. They do sleep for over half the day, but where they sleep is high in a tree so you will have to stick to seeing them in your dreams or on the page.
Baby Animals is a bite-sized buffet of animal facts and photos that PreK-2nd grade readers will throw their arms around. My favorite section of the book is a flow chart about the pet adoption process.This would be a good mentor text for creating nonfiction posters or learning about text features. Exposure to these kinds of books helps to produce a respect and love of animals. Now more than ever, we need conservation minded citizens.