It was an image of a polar bear cub taking a snow bath that began these two board books. The image was in my mind and it stayed there for a very long time, for years in fact. I knew I wanted to write about something that all earth creatures do, something that connected us. It was a challenge to select just the right animals with the right kind of bath to show a variety. Loving the way Baby Animals Take a Bath was going, I began Baby Animals Take a Nap and Baby Animals Have a Snack. Bathing, napping, and snacking are common elements in all babies’ lives. Charlesbridge contracted for the first two books and decided to publish them as companion books. I was delighted, especially as these are my first board books. My hope is that every baby shower includes copies of the Baby Animals books, perfect for our littlest ones.
“Arnold and Tildes showcase eight young animals getting clean in distinctive ways. The text is limited to punchy, two-word phrases (“Snow bath/ Sun Bath/ Steam bath/ Puddle Bath”), and the animals are identified on the back cover. Framed in wavy-edged black borders, Tildes’s animal portraits reflect the animals’ naturalistic behaviors—a zebra foal lolls in the dust, an elephant calf sprays itself with its trunk—while still ensuring they look as adorable as possible. A closing scene featuring a human baby mid-bath cements the connection between the way we get clean and the ways animals do. Up to age 3.
The text remains simple. Two words per page say everything needed said. The first word identifies the type of bath taken (snow, mud, dust . . .), repeatedly followed by the word “bath,” all to make reading and learning easier for toddlers trying to read on their own. Young children will love seeing the young animals in their natural settings. A companion title, Baby Animals Take a Nap (also released 2/07/2017), treats young children to the world of naps.
Adventurous children can try each type of bath, if their parents are game (no pun intended). How fun it could be to bathe in snow . . . in mud . . . a puddle . . . or in a tub full of bubbles. Baby Animals Take a Bath, with its beautiful illustrations and simple text, could be your baby’s first glance at the similarities between animal babies and human babies. No matter the baby, all need to take a bath.
Two-word descriptions and realistic art depict the ways a variety of baby animals bathe.
“Snow bath” shows a young polar-bear cub enjoying a roll in the snow; across the spread, a sea-lion pup snoozes on a sandy beach in a “sun bath.” The book continues with a variety of bathing techniques, including “dust bath” (zebra foal), “mud bath” (hippopotamus calf), and “tongue bath” (tiger cub). Tildes’ sunny paintings fill each page, with a squiggly black line as an informal border. The final double-page spread reveals a white infant with brown hair and brown eyes in a baby bathtub receiving a “bubble bath!” The companion book, Baby Animals Take a Nap, follows the same formula to demonstrate how baby critters rest, often with a grown-up in close proximity. The title ends with a white baby peacefully snoozing in the crook of a grown-up’s arm, likely the babe’s father. Both offerings list the animals depicted in order of appearance in the book on the back cover. While the imagery in both may skew to the adorable, the information it presents is solid.
This is developmentally appropriate nonfiction for the youngest animal lovers. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)