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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Beastly Babies, words by Ellen Jackson and beasts by Brendan Wenzel. Beach Lane Books, Simon & Schuster. 2015. $22.99 ages 3 and up

"Mama tigers crawl
and creep,
walking, stalking -
then they leap.

Tiger babies pounce
and fail
when they aim for
Mama's tail."

Don't we all love babies? Does it matter at all that they are animals? I don't think so.

In the rhyming text accompanied by Brendan Wenzel's 'rendered in almost everything imaginable' illustrations, we meet a menagerie of babies. Their physical attributes are described, as are their activities, their dispositions, and their families. The pace is quick, descriptive and will keep little hands turning pages in order to enjoy each ensuing pair of couplets. The rhythm is infectious; it is sure to encourage those wanting to read on their own to give it a try.

The art will prompt discussion and invite return visits. The artist covers each double page spread with movement, expression and a parade of appealing babies in their own environment. White space allows the attention to be given to the fun they find in life. Their googly eyes and penchant for playfulness make this a book that will be enjoyed on many occasions.

While growing up is not always easy, and certainly not endlessly funny, these babies don't know that yet! Parents, on the other hand, are fully cognizant that it can be a trying and tiring time, for ALL of us.

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