Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The phrase "if you were a..." introduces the way in which a variety of animals enter the world. "The tone is lovingly maternal, soothing and perfect for bedtime," said PW in a starred review. Ages 1-4. (Feb.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Marion Dane Bauer's If You Were Born a Kitten (1997), illus. by JoEllen McAllister Stammen, makes a fitting board book, with just one line of text per spread, as it describes how 11 animals come into the world ("If you were born a kitten,/ you'd slip into the world in a/ silvery sac, and your mother/ would lick, lick, lick you free"). The book ends with a baby's birth: "You rode curled beneath your mother's heart,/ growing and growing...." In a starred review, PW called it "lovingly maternal, soothing and perfect for bedtime."
This award winning picture book has been configured for a new group of readers as a board book. It discusses the birth of a variety of animals and compares the various characteristics to the gestation and birth of a human child. Baby seahorses swim off in a salty ocean, a baby whale is nudged up to the surface after birth so it can get its first big gulp of air, and a baby deer mouse is born with thin wrinkled skin, while a baby elephant sometimes sucks its trunk like a thumb. As a newborn baby, one comes into this word "Naked as a bear cub. Soft as a porcupette, wrinkled as a deer mouse. Free as a kitten." A great way to show that we are all part of the fascinating family of animals. 2002 (orig. 1997), Little Simon,
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1--"If you were born a kitten, you'd slip into the world in a silvery sac, and your mother would lick, lick, lick you free." So begins this simple, rhythmic narrative that describes how 12 different animals enter the world. Stammen's skillful manipulation of dry pastels gives a shimmer to the seahorse; definition to each porcupine quill; and creates contrast between the wet, scraggly chick and the dry, fluffy one. The dark gray paper that comprises the background contributes to the sense of intimacy and vulnerability that accompanies birth. The scenes, each featuring a parent and offspring, bleed off of oversized, double-page spreads, making this a welcome choice for group settings. From the soft, deep blue of the ocean surrounding a nurturing mother whale to the frontal view of a speckled frog watching over her tadpoles, Bauer and Stammen capture the natural behavior of these animals with nary a trace of anthropomorphism; author and illustrator convey the sweetness and wonder of babies without being cloying. The book culminates with a view of a carriage that holds the toy counterparts of the preceding animals and the story of "you": "Naked as a bear cub. Soft as a porcupette. Wrinkled as a deer mouse. Free as a kitten." As endearing as a baby.--Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA
Aspects of the birth process of a variety of animals are described in an inventive, often poetic text.
The book begins: "If you were born a kitten, you'd slip into the world in a silvery sac, and your mother would lick, lick, lick you free." For each creatureseahorse, chicken, porcupine, whale, opossum, snake, bear, mouse, elephant, and frogBauer (Alison's Wings, 1996, etc.) provides brief factual content in the "If you were" construction. The choice of the animals becomes clear when readers see the array of stuffed animals owned by the human baby to which this story is uttered. The pictures are always warm, conveying a sense of place that varies from woodsy locales to underwater habitats. Pastels on gray paper and Stammen's strong, scoured lines mute the representations of the parents and children, complementing the dreamy, melodious text. A perfect bedtime book, this also provides some simple answers to those first questions on reproduction.