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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Born in the Wild: Baby Animals and Their Parents, written and illustrated by Lita Judge. Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2014. $21.99 ages 3 and up

"The baby is hungry.

All mammals begin life
nursing on their mother's

Grizzly bear cubs nurse for
several months before they
start eating grasses, berries,
insects and a little meat."

Who doesn't love a baby? Who could resist that happy, much-loved baby giraffe on the front cover of Lita Judge's newest nonfiction book? Just look at the love in his mama's eyes!

The readers who have a chance to see this book are certain to be enamored of the small creatures (very much like them) that grace its pages. You will hear a lot of 'awwing'; I am sure of that.  There are 26 mammals here, and they ALL have babies...cute, cuddly, gentle, inquisitive, and with the same needs. They need to be fed, to be protected, to be sheltered, to be moved, to feel the love of family and to know its role in teaching play and life lessons in the wild:

"Kits and joeys, cubs and colts -
every baby mammal needs gentle
care and teaching...

just like you!"

There is great diversity in the animals brought to our attention. Ms. Judge uses soft lines and a welcome degree of gentle humor to invite readers to learn about their lives in the wild, the care given and the love bestowed on each one. The short sections begin with a single sentence, meant to bring attention to the needs that all babies have. The informational text does not overwhelm and is carefully placed beside the endearing, realistic images.

Backmatter includes 'more about the animals in this book', such as:

"A mother chimpanzee holds her infant constantly during its first five to six months of life. Later the youngster clings to her stomach and back. Young chimpanzees play, climb, and wrestle, and learn to build nests and groom one another. They also learn how to use tools like sticks to fish for termites. Females help one another with babysitting. They young aren't weaned until four to six years of age. They live in forested zones in west and central Africa."

Also included are a glossary, a list of sources and good websites that have information on animals.

Warm and celebratory, this is a book not to be missed!

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