My First Day

Overview

The first day of life is different for every animal. Human newborns don’t do much at all, but some animals hit the ground running. The Caldecott Honor–winning team Steve Jenkins and Robin Page apply their considerable talents to revealing how twenty two different species, from the emperor penguin to the Siberian tiger, adapt to that traumatic first few hours of life, with or without parental help. Jenkins’s vividly colorful cut-paper illustrations are eye-poppingly three-dimensional and as exquisite as ...

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Overview

The first day of life is different for every animal. Human newborns don’t do much at all, but some animals hit the ground running. The Caldecott Honor–winning team Steve Jenkins and Robin Page apply their considerable talents to revealing how twenty two different species, from the emperor penguin to the Siberian tiger, adapt to that traumatic first few hours of life, with or without parental help. Jenkins’s vividly colorful cut-paper illustrations are eye-poppingly three-dimensional and as exquisite as ever. While the text is short and sweet, an illustrated guide provides descriptions of the twenty two animals in the back. Fantastic!

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Pamela Paul
…smart, informative and accessible…Jenkins's masterly paper collages achieve their usual high standards of zoological accuracy and beauty. The text is shrewdly written in the first-person voice of each baby animal, mingling personality with scientific fact.
Publishers Weekly
There are many books about animal babies, but Jenkins and Page, whose 2003 collaboration What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? received a Caldecott Honor, stand out by zeroing in on the first day of existence. Their continuum of 22 animals runs from "Even more helpless than a human" (the Siberian tiger whose eyes are shut at birth) to "Get with the program" ("My herd stays on the move," says a newborn blue wildebeest, "and I have to keep up!") and "You're on your own, kid" (the newly hatched leatherback turtle must dodge danger by itself). Jenkins uses an impressive array of textured cut paper to capture the characters in all their furry, prickly, and downy glory. Not surprisingly, many portraits are of mothers with their offspring, but one example of male parenting is sure to stick in readers' minds: Darwin's frog, which creates a kind of nursery in its throat (Jenkins shows the offspring jauntily peeking out from his father's mouth, like nature's idea of a nesting doll). Brief, detailed profiles of each animal close out this handsome examination of child-rearing across the animal kingdom. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"Fun and very educational."
Booklist

"[A] handsome examination of child-rearing across the animal kingdom."
Publishers Weekly

"Jenkins and Page's simple text effectively highlights the differing degrees of independence of a variety of species' young."
Horn Book

"Jenkins and Page find yet another inviting way to connect young human readers and listeners to creatures who share their world . . . Appealing to a wide age range, this is another crowd pleaser."
Kirkus

"The striking depictions of mother and child set against full-bleed colored backgrounds or clean white space should make for many return readings."
School Library Journal, starred review

"The style would work as an easy read as well as a readaloud."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Jenkins's masterly paper collages achieve their usual high standards of zoological accuracy and beauty. The text is shrewdly written in the first-person voice of each baby animal, mingling personality with scientific fact."
New York Times Online

Children's Literature - Kris Sauer
From the Caldecott Honor-winning team that created What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? comes another beautifully illustrated picture book featuring species from each corner of the animal kingdom. The book starts with a question—"What did you do on your first day—the day you were born?"—and features the responses of 22 different animals, from the well-known polar bear to the lesser-known muntjac. Each page begins with the same phrase—"On my first day..."—which lends a rhythm to the text that just begs to be read aloud. It continues by featuring a wonderful illustration and interesting factoid about the animal. The speaker's identity is revealed in the corner of each page, adding a potential puzzle readers will enjoy. Which animal falls five feet (or more) to the ground, unharmed, on its first day? Which one hops out of his father's mouth? In a herd, how does a parent tell her child from the others? Scent, pattern, and cry are among the clues bats, zebras, and sea lions use to tell their young apart from the hundreds or thousands of others in their herd. The book concludes with a multitude of interesting factoids like these on each animal, including its locale, its relative size (in both U.S. and metric measurements), and more. This feature is sure to give interested kids that extra bit of information they appreciate. Reviewer: Kris Sauer
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Another winner from this talented creative team. Jenkins's trademark cut-paper collages are up to their usual standard, which is to say they are outstanding, as he captures 23 different newborns on their first day of life. Some of the animals are familiar, such as giraffes and penguins, while others are more exotic, such as a sifaka, a muntjac, and a blue wildebeest. A few simple, clearly written sentences describe the wide variety of things that these youngsters can or cannot do upon entering the world. Children should find the information intriguing as they learn about capybaras that can swim and dive when only a few hours old and how mother zebras memorize the pattern of stripes on their babies so they can recognize them among the thousands of others in the herd. The striking depictions of mother and child set against full-bleed colored backgrounds or clean white space should make for many return readings. Additional information on each animal is included in the back matter. A first purchase for most libraries.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Jenkins and Page find yet another inviting way to connect young human readers and listeners to creatures who share their world, presenting 22 baby animals that describe their very first day of life. From the kiwi that kicked its way out of its egg to the polar bear cuddled up with its mother snug and warm under the snow, each page or spread reveals an animal's initial independence and the level of parental care. There's a splendid variety, from familiar tigers and giraffes to capybaras and megapodes--even a parent bug, which gets its name because the mother, unlike most insects, stays around to guard her young larvae. The focus of Jenkins' cut-and-torn paper illustrations is on the babies, each shown against a plain background whose color may represent something of its world. Sometimes the parent is visible or partially visible. A short paragraph of read-aloud text appears on the page along with a tiny label. The backmatter reintroduces each animal with further information about where it can be found, how big it will get to be and other behaviors. While the authors have a splendid track record, it would still be nice to have sources or at least an acknowledgement that an animal expert had vetted these facts. Appealing to a wide age range, this is another crowd pleaser. (Informational picture book. 2-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547738512
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 1/8/2013
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 191,420
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Jenkins has written and illustrated many nonfiction picture books for young readers, including the Caldecott Honor-winning What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? His books have been called stunning, eye-popping, inventive, gorgeous, masterful, extraordinary, playful, irresistible, compelling, engaging, accessible, glorious, and informative. He lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and frequent collaborator, Robin Page, and their children.

Steve Jenkins has written and illustrated many nonfiction picture books for young readers, including the Caldecott Honor-winning What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? His books have been called stunning, eye-popping, inventive, gorgeous, masterful, extraordinary, playful, irresistible, compelling, engaging, accessible, glorious, and informative. He lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and frequent collaborator, Robin Page, and their children.

Robin Page lives in Boulder, Colorado, with her husband and collaborator, Steve Jenkins, and their three children. Along with writing and illustrating children’s books, Steve and Robin run a graphic design studio.

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