Sunday, April 20, 2014

Show Me the Baby! The Book of Babies by Il Sung Na


Mama Duck is excited to see her own babies hatching, but she knows that they are not the only new ones being born.

So Father Duck flies off to report on who's new.

It seems babies are everywhere.

Papa swims beneath the water and finds that fish have too many babies to count or care for: Mama has to get them into their school right away.

On the other hand, a mother monkey has only one baby, and she has to carry him around in her arms or clinging to her body for a while. Baby zebras, however, stand up after only a minute of getting their land legs, and know how to follow their mothers everywhere.


Baby kittens can't even open their eyes at first and take a few weeks to learn to get their legs working. Some as different as sea horse babies and little kangaroos hang out in their father's or mother's pouches for quite a while before they venture out into the big world outside. Some, like bear cubs, are born with a fluffy, warm coat to keep them warm during the first cool days of spring, and some have slippery skin or scales to help them slide over the ground or slip through the warming waters.

But after their first days in the world, all babies need to rest, and that's just what Father Duck finds his ducklings doing back in their nest, in Il Sung Ya's sweet essay on all kinds of babies, A Book of Babies (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013). The author offers a variety of babies, shown in his lovely textured and layered multimedia illustrations, giving toddler humans a view of the wide world of young ones, and as most such books do, his text brings it home to a cozy bedtime, with a subtle suggestion that babies everywhere need their sleep. Kirkus Reviews gives Na's latest a starred review, concluding that "Undulating rainbow colors, circular patterns and fibrous textures swirl across leaves, animal bodies and sky, creating a lively natural world. Here's evidence that digital tinkering can yield richly layered, cohesive artwork that captures the kaleidoscopic beauty of the animal kingdom, its shadows, lights, colors, textures and shapes."

Other best-selling books for tots by Il Sung Na include A Book of Sleep and the seasonal Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons.

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