Sometimes I go a little overboard when purchasing books or gifts. My great-nephew received two giant floor puzzles yesterday because they both (the puzzles) looked so cute I couldn’t decide which one he would enjoy.
When I looked at a series of books about baby animals by Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland, I just couldn’t stop. The first book I found was “ZooBorns,” and it contains adorable pictures of baby animals born in zoos all over the world. There also is no space between the word zoo and borns in the title, which I find confusing. Information about each species is included. Some are very rare, and one species of pygmy rabbit that used to live in Washington State is now extinct. A few remaining pygmy rabbits were crossbred with similar pygmy rabbits found in Idaho, so now there are a few of these tiny bunnies alive in zoos.
Then I found “1-2-3 ZooBorns,” and “A-B-C ZooBorns,” larger picture books by the same authors, share the same cuteness. I couldn’t resist them. But then I found “Snuggle Up, ZooBorns,” which is a level one reading book. Cutebaby animals are paired with simple text. So being of sound mind, I bought all four at once. It reminded me of the sales going on during the end of November.
Then I found a book with an unlikely hero, a tapir. How could I resist a book about a heroic tapir? “Tiptoe Tapirs,” by Hanmin Kim, is a most unusual book. Mr. Kim regards tapirs as his favorite animal, but theyalways look like they were created out of leftover pieces of elephants, pigs, and pandas.
“Counting Lions,” written by Katie Cotton and illustrated by Stephen Walton is simply a gorgeous picture book. The animal portraits are stunning, done in charcoal but looking like photographs. Mr. Walton says he often works from his own photographs or those taken by other photographers. This book is an incredible example of why picture books are so necessary, even in a digital world.
If you could be any of these animals, either as a zoo resident or living wild and free, which would you choose to be? Jonathan Bentley has written and illustrated a sweet book about a small, frustrated boy who wants to be big, appropriately titled, “Big.” As he imagines the things he could do if he was as tall as a giraffe or as strong as a gorilla, he realizes that each of these big changes would also have a big drawback. For example, if he was as strong as a gorilla and able to open the cookie jar, he wouldn’t be able to take his cookies into his playhouse to eat them.
How do you say I love you? I sometimes say, “I love you to the moon and back!” My great-nephew spreads his arms wide and says, “I love you this much!” “Animally, by Lynn Parrish Sutton, provides us with a wonderful new vocabulary. Ms. Sutton says, “I love you bravely like an eagle.” Or “I love you exceedingly like a giraffe.” And “I love you birdily, bugily, animally. I love you so, for you’re my family.”