Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book #243: Hello Baby! by Mem Fox, Illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Image from
What kind of baby are you? Are you a monkey baby with clever toes or a hippo baby with yawning jaws? An elephant? A warthog? Maybe a zebra? A lion? Finally, the book asks,

“Then who are you, baby?
Wait, let me guess –
Are you my treasure?
The answer is…Yes!”

Simple, but descriptive questions comprise the text of this large, square book. The text and illustrations are set off against a pure white background, making it easier for babies and toddlers to focus. Jenkins’ signature paper collage illustrations, always so detailed and precise, are the perfect compliment to Fox’s text. Each baby animal, carefully created from textured papers, is seen doing the action described in the text. Animals are also anatomically correct, even though the text is anthropomorphic at times. Each page also includes a color silhouette of the animal, which is then repeated at the end of the book so that readers have a visual recap of the animals in the book.

This book is great for a baby or a toddler time and could easily be paired with Is Your Mama a Llama? or Hug for a storytime about babies in the animal world. Try songs like Hush Little Baby and Over in the Meadow.

I’m a big fan of Jenkin’s non-fiction books about the animal world for kids. Although they are a bit too information packed to use in a storytime, the beautiful covers and illustrations make them great for browsing. Try bringing some in to display for parents to check out.

Celebrate Fox’s birthday (March 5) with an all Mem Fox storytime. For younger kids try Where is the Green Sheep? and Ten Little Fingers. For older kids I love The Magic Hat and Wilfrid Gordon McDonald. Fox has a long list of picture book titles. Check out Fox’s webpage on this book for insight into the writing inspiration and to listen to her reading the book.


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