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Friday, April 27, 2007

Who Are You, Baby Kangaroo?

stella blackstone children's book review who are you baby kangaroo barefoot booksWho Are You, Baby Kangaroo? by Stella Blackstone, Illustrations by Clare Beaton.

I borrowed this book from the library for 2 reasons, ok, 3 - viz., Ana needed new reading material, Stella Blackstone's My Granny Went to Market was a big hit at home, and, it is published by Barefoot Books.

A little puppy wants to know what a baby kangaroo is called. When he asks him, the baby kangaroo, says I am not going to tell you, you'll have to ask... and sends him off to wolf cubs to find out, who send him off to cygnets and so on... where the little puppy meets various other baby animals asking,

cygnets, cygnets, can you give me a clue?
can you tell me the name of the baby kangaroo?

and then, eventually, he circles back to the mommy kangaroo who reveals... joey!

Good things first...

  • I love Clare Beaton's appliqué style art work in this book. Each page has a lot of elements, including the puppy, whose muzzle, or behind, is all you see sometimes... Ana likes to point out the puppy in each page

  • I like that it introduces baby animals - cygnets, moose calves, tadpoles, penguin chicks, zebra foals- I didn't know about cygnets and joey until I was in middle school, when it started nagging me that baby animals have special names - what about baby humans? they are stuck with "boy" or "girl" or "baby" until it is too awkward to call them that... (unless you are my mom, in which case, it is never too awkward to call a full grown woman-child a "baby")

  • I enjoyed the element of repetition, which is they key to success in many children's board books: "_baby-animal_, "_baby-animal_, can you give me a clue? can you tell me the name of the baby kangaroo?" Insert any _baby-animal_ name you like and this rhyme works great...

  • also, like the classic Brown Bear book, this can set up a certain level of prediction skills - after a few reads, Ana started telling me what baby animal is in the next page

  • last few pages explain about baby animals which is great for 7-8 year olds to read alone and comprehend

My only reluctant grumble is that the rhymes could have been better with a little more work - the beginning and ending were a mouthful, and not very kid-friendly.

You know how you have certain lofty expectations from a book, and when it doesn't live up to it, you start feeling guilty as if you missed something, you did something terrible? (No? well, darn, am I the only one?)

Anyway, I think I was looking for the magic that My Granny Went To Market brought, but, this book didn't have it.

It is a wonderful book on its own, nevertheless. And what's more, Ana seems to love it. She can't seem to get enough of it... and towards the end, when the baby kangaroo's name is about to be revealed, when I read the previous sentence and pause, she instantly squeals "joveee!" (yes, that's when I realized diphthongs and triphthong are not easy for 2 year olds).

More children's books review at Saffron Tree!



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