Children who love cuddly, furry, wide-eyed animal babies will love National Geographic’s latest picture book masterpiece: Hey, Baby! A Collection of Pictures, Poems, and Stories from Nature’s Nursery. It is written for children ages 4 to 8, it’s humongous, and it’s 192 pages of fun.
The book opens with an introduction to the similarities between animal babies and human babies; that animal babies wake their mothers up far too early, just like human babies, and that animal babies are so exuberant that it takes lots of time, patience and energy to raise them — again, just like human babies. Then, to help readers find babies easier, the book’s Table of Contents categorizes babies into geographical locations:
Mountains and plains (Rabbits, Bighorn sheep, beavers, Bald Eagle, etc.)
Rivers and rain forests (Armadillo, Gecko, Ocelot, etc.)
Jungle and Savanna (Giraffe, Hippo, African Wild Dog, Ostrich, etc.)
Desert and coast (Baby Bats, Platypus, Dingo, Tasmanian Devil, etc.)
Forest and stream (Brown hare, Weasel, Red Deer, etc.)
Tropics and peaks (Red Panda, Tarsier, Yak, etc.)
Ice and snow (Arctic Fox, Arctic Wolf, Reindeer, etc.)
Ocean and sea (Clownfish, Seahorse, Orca, Otter, etc.)
There are eye-popping close-up photographs of adorable babies in each section, and many are introduced to readers through unique poems, documented rescue stories and even familiar folktales that offer funny accounts of the animal’s history (i.e., Why the Porcupine Has Quills, and Why Whales Don’t Live in Lakes).
There are oodles of fun facts, like how “black” bears can also be brown, cinnamon, blue-gray or white (P.19); the Spicebush Swallowtail is a caterpillar that looks like a tree snake with humongous eyes (P.31); the Tamandua can eat up to 9,000 ants a day (P.36); and one ostrich egg weighs the same as two dozen chicken eggs (P.69). There are also animal rescue stories and even “legends,” like “How the Zebra Got Its Stripes” (P.70) and “How the Kookaburra Got Its Laugh” (P.92).
Use this book across core subjects, including science, nature, environmental preservation and wildlife study. It can even be used in creative writing classes to inspire animal stories or stories about lands and animals from far away.