Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Carry Meeee! Baby On Board: How Animals Carry Their Young by Marianne Berkes

When you were a baby, someone carried you. Have you ever wondered what animal parents do?

Animals, like people, carry babies in all kinds of ways. In their arms or piggyback are the most popular ways, but a few, like the kangaroo, have a handy built-in expandable pouch for youngsters. Emperor penguins have an egg pouch between the males' feet into which eggs and very young ones fit to keep warm. Some animal parents have even more creative ways to carry the kiddies.

Being marsupials, baby opossums are born very small and most newborns spend a little time in their mother's rudimentary pouches and then switch to piggyback rides, holding on to her shaggy fur for dear life.
This animal hauls her babies from one place to another.The joeys have it easy as they all ride on their mother.

Piggyback works great for shaggy tree sloths, hundreds of baby wolf spiderlings, chimpanzees, anteaters, and even baby loons who can hop on dad's back to get warm. But Mama Otter has a twist on that trick: she floats on her back and carries her little one on her tummy where it's easy to keep her eyes on her baby. And when she needs to dive down deep for dinner, she tethers him to a handy strand of kelp.
This mom is like a living raft as she transports her pup.
She hunts for food for them and will never give up.

Mama Alligator has an even stranger twist to the piggyback concept. If danger is near, she calls her little hatchlings to hop in her mouth to hide. It's the last place any predator wants to be (and if he does, the last place he'll ever see).
When babies call their mothers, there is no time to pause.
She carries them to safety, grasped in her powerful jaws.

And like human babies, little ones like chimps are carried around in the parents' arms, right where they like to be.

Noted children's nature author, Marianne Berkes' Baby on Board: How Animals Carry Their Young (Dawn Publications) offers an engaging nature science book for both primary and middle grade readers. From loon to lion, manatee to chimpanzee, Berke's engaging nonfiction book provides jolly facts in rhyming couplets for the youngest animal lovers, and for older animal fans or researching middle graders there is an accompanying text with addition information on all twelve featured animals, as well as an appendix with a matching quiz, suggested curriculum connections, and a bibliography of books and websites, Illustrated by artist Cathy Morrison with charming artwork of parents and babies done in almost photographic detail, this versatile volume is a real twofer for children from preschool to middle school ages.

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