Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Review: Meet My Family! Animal Babies and Their Families by Laura Purdie Salas and Stephanie Fizer Coleman


What kind of families do animal babies have? All different kinds! Charming text and sweet illustrations introduce a wolf pup cared for by the pack, a young orangutan snuggling with its mother high in a tree, a poison dart frog tadpole riding piggyback on its dad, and more. Featuring rhyming verse and informational text, this book lets you discover just how diverse the animal kingdom really is!

We have seen (and reviewed) books by Salas about rocks and water so far, time to branch out to living creatures!

At first glance, this is a simple picture book about the way different animals raise (or don't raise) their babies. Some keep their babies at home and both parents care for them. Others move around frequently. Some babies have multiple siblings, while others have none. Some live with their mother, while their father is absent. Some have two parents of the same gender. Some help take care of their younger siblings. Some...

...wait a minute, are we talking about animal babies, or about the kids in our classroom? It is easy to see the comparison between the many ways animals form families, and the many ways humans do. Just as it isn't 'wrong' when a doe raises her baby away from the buck, as the last pages say, "Every family's different - each family is just right!"

Salas does an excellent job of making the animal relationships familiar, without over-anthropomorphising them. As if that were not enough, she also throws in some vocabulary from cultures around the world, using the words for "mother" and "father" that might be used in the animals' native lands (with a handy chart at the end!) And THEN, she includes a map and list of habitats for each of them! And a list of additional books to read! And a note from the author! Whew! You could spend a whole week on lessons in the classroom with this slim volume!

Coleman's soft but colorful illustrations are the perfect accompaniment, striking the same balance of inviting but not trying to humanize. An excellent addition to any library shelf.

If you enjoy it as well, consider nominating it for the Cybils Award - nominations open October 1!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this lovely review. It's always great for an author (and an editor--the map was her idea, I'm pretty sure!) to see so many aspects of a book appreciated like this:>)