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Stay Close to Mama

Overview


In the wide, shining world there is so much to see, and Twiga is curious. But Twiga's tall, tall Mama wants her baby to stay close, stay safe from the dangers that lurk near each irresistible sweet smell and sparkling sight that Twiga finds.

With lyrical text and enchanting illustrations, this story of a mother's love will soothe and delight readers of all ages.

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Overview


In the wide, shining world there is so much to see, and Twiga is curious. But Twiga's tall, tall Mama wants her baby to stay close, stay safe from the dangers that lurk near each irresistible sweet smell and sparkling sight that Twiga finds.

With lyrical text and enchanting illustrations, this story of a mother's love will soothe and delight readers of all ages.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Like all babies, Twiga the giraffe is curious. He hears, smells, or sees something new and off he gallops, oblivious to the anxieties of his “tall, tall mama,” who knows that predators are everywhere on the savanna: “No, little Twiga. Stay close, stay safe.” There’s no doubt that readers and their parents will instantly see themselves in this loving but ongoing conflict over the need to explore and the need to protect, and they’ll undoubtedly find the two characters adorable and reassuring. But Buzzeo (One Cool Friend) and Wohnoutka’s (Can’t Sleep Without Sheep) execution falls short in key respects. The savanna looks more like a cheery local meadow than a hot, “dusty plain,” and this geographic de-clawing lowers the life-and-death stakes considerably. Furthermore, the writer and illustrator are at odds over whether Twiga ever understands how much danger he’s in (Buzzeo suggests yes, Wohnoutka seems to indicate no). Because the book deprives readers of a strong point of view, the scenes lack comedic or dramatic tension. Ages 1–5. Agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
Little Twiga the giraffe is curious, and he consistently leaves the safety of his mama in search of new sights and smells, repeatedly disobeying. Yet the only consequence for Twiga is getting stung on the nose by ants, when he also faces much worse dangers such as predatory animals.Young readers will enjoy the new places Twiga explores on each page. The warm, bright illustrations increase the sense of wonder. Twiga does eventually decide to stay close to his mother, yet the book ends with a final pull of curiosity. -Natalie Mulder, Student, Master of Science in Information, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan—Library Media Connection

Like all babies, Twiga the giraffe is curious. He hears, smells, or sees something new and off he gallops, oblivious to the anxieties of his "tall, tall mama," who knows that predators are everywhere on the savanna: "No, little Twiga. Stay close, stay safe." There's no doubt that readers and their parents will instantly see themselves in this loving but ongoing conflict over the need to explore and the need to protect, and they'll undoubtedly find the two characters adorable and reassuring. But Buzzeo (One Cool Friend) and Wohnoutka's (Can't Sleep Without Sheep) execution falls short in key respects. The savanna looks more like a cheery local meadow than a hot, "dusty plain," and this geographic de-clawing lowers the life-and-death stakes considerably. Furthermore, the writer and illustrator are at odds over whether Twiga ever understands how much danger he's in (Buzzeo suggests yes, Wohnoutka seems to indicate no). Because the book deprives readers of a strong point of view, the scenes lack comedic or dramatic tension.—PW

Twiga, a curious baby giraffe, smells something delicious in the air and, despite his mother's gentle reminders to stay with her ("No, little Twiga. Stay close, stay safe"), he sets off across the African savannah in search of the smell. Unbeknownst to Twiga, his mama is following close behind, and she continues to follow him all the way to the sweet-smelling sausage tree. Along the way Twiga encounters some challenges (stinging ants, a fall in the river) and passes through some potentially dangerous situations completely unaware (a hyena hides behind a termite mound, a leopard lies waiting in the sausage tree), but in the end he returns safely to his mother's side, where she warmly welcomes him. Twiga's inquisitiveness will be appealing to the younger set, and parents will readily recognize the unconditional love and protection that his mother offers to him. The point here is confusing, though, since there's much emphasis on his mother's instruction, but his refusal to heed it (and the danger he thus incurs) never becomes significant to the plot. The illustrations are a little saccharine and the colors at times border on the garish, but audiences will warm to Twiga's wobbly-legged cuteness and sweet smile. Stein's Pouch! is a more dynamic take on a similar topic, but audiences who just want a chance to coo over baby animals will appreciate Twiga's adorableness. An note offers more information about giraffes. HM—BCCB

PreS-K Despite his mother's reminders to "Stay close, stay safe," young Twiga (Swahili for "giraffe") constantly strays toward whichever sight, sound, or smell catches his attention. His inquisitiveness is not diminished by stinging ants, a tumble in crocodile-infested waters, or a close call with a cheetah. He ultimately snags the fruit of a tasty-smelling sausage tree and returns to Mother. At sunset, he looks out to the horizon and the text states, "And Twiga is so curious." The author's concluding notes describe giraffes' dislike of water and their inquiring nature despite their shyness. Readers also learn that the favored fruit actually smells like bats. Wohnoutka's large, almost impressionistic paintings grant a rich glimpse of the vast savanna and its denizens. Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA—SLJ

Looking out across the dusty savanna, Twiga knows that he should stay with his mama, but time and again the curious little giraffe races off, following a clattering sound, a glittering light, or a delicious smell. His mother follows to keep watch. Like her, readers will notice what Twiga misses, the sharp-toothed hyena eyeing him from behind the termite mound, the crocodile lurking in the water, and the cheetah rising on the tree limb. It all sounds a bit ominous, but the story's tone is actually reassuring, and in the end Twiga is safe, snuggling against his mother's side. Written with a storyteller's ear for cadence and repetition, the text has a sense of immediacy. The book concludes with a short author's note on giraffes. Nicely composed and pleasing in their use of rounded forms and line, the broad double-page illustrations show up well from a distance. A good choice for reading aloud. - Carolyn Phelan—Booklist

A young giraffe repeatedly lands in dangerous situations when his curiosity gets the best of him. Concerned mama giraffe knows many threats exist on the African savanna, but her little Twiga ("giraffe" in Swahili) "is so curious." The "tall, tall mama leans close and whispers a warning, / No, little Twiga. Stay close, stay safe." Twiga's keen senses prove irresistible. He hears music in a thorny tree, sees sparkly water and smells the delicious fruit of the sausage tree. Each time he approaches the attractive object, a predator or serious discomfort-hyena, stinging ants, crocodile, cheetah-looms near. The clueless Twiga always manages to move onto the next pursuit just in time. Mama giraffe is often shown in the background looking worried. But Twiga, other than in the moment the ants crawl onto his nose, never learns the important lesson that being careful will surely save his life. Somehow all is forgiven after Twiga grabs the sweet fruit and returns to his mama at least until the next time. Overall there are many elements that seem off: the contradictory message, the sometimes-precious tone of the text and the disconnect between the textual description of the setting and what is shown in Wohnoutka's illustrations. The text describes "tall brown grass" and a "dusty plain," but the full-bleed spreads show mostly lush green landscapes dotted with flowers. Pass on this muddled effort. (author's note) (Picture book. 3-5)—Kirkus

Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
Twiga is a very curious baby giraffe that wants to explore the plains; however, his mother wants him to stay close by her because of the dangerous predators that lie waiting. There are enticing fragrances, interesting sounds, and sparkling items that Twiga wants to see. He is not aware of the threats around him like the hyena and leopard that are looking for a tasty meal. Despite mother giraffe's warnings, Twiga also encounters some stinging ants which result in an unpleasant experience. The illustrations stretch across the layout which adds to the visual enjoyment for children listening during a read aloud of the story. The yellow tone of color gives warmth to the pictures. An author's note at the back of the book provides some additional information about giraffes that readers may find interesting. Children may identify with the protective relationship between Twiga and his mother. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
PreS-K—Despite his mother's reminders to "Stay close, stay safe," young Twiga (Swahili for "giraffe") constantly strays toward whichever sight, sound, or smell catches his attention. His inquisitiveness is not diminished by stinging ants, a tumble in crocodile-infested waters, or a close call with a cheetah. He ultimately snags the fruit of a tasty-smelling sausage tree and returns to Mother. At sunset, he looks out to the horizon and the text states, "And Twiga is so curious." The author's concluding notes describe giraffes' dislike of water and their inquiring nature despite their shyness. Readers also learn that the favored fruit actually smells like bats. Wohnoutka's large, almost impressionistic paintings grant a rich glimpse of the vast savanna and its denizens.—Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA
Kirkus Reviews
A young giraffe repeatedly lands in dangerous situations when his curiosity gets the best of him. Concerned mama giraffe knows many threats exist on the African savanna, but her little Twiga ("giraffe" in Swahili) "is so curious." The "tall, tall mama…leans close and whispers a warning, / No, little Twiga. Stay close, stay safe." Twiga's keen senses prove irresistible. He hears music in a thorny tree, sees sparkly water and smells the delicious fruit of the sausage tree. Each time he approaches the attractive object, a predator or serious discomfort--hyena, stinging ants, crocodile, cheetah--looms near. The clueless Twiga always manages to move onto the next pursuit just in time. Mama giraffe is often shown in the background looking worried. But Twiga, other than in the moment the ants crawl onto his nose, never learns the important lesson that being careful will surely save his life. Somehow all is forgiven after Twiga grabs the sweet fruit and returns to his mama…at least until the next time. Overall there are many elements that seem off: the contradictory message, the sometimes-precious tone of the text and the disconnect between the textual description of the setting and what is shown in Wohnoutka's illustrations. The text describes "tall brown grass" and a "dusty plain," but the full-bleed spreads show mostly lush green landscapes dotted with flowers. Pass on this muddled effort. (author's note) (Picture book. 3-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423134824
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 3/13/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Lexile: AD530L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.30 (w) x 11.26 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Toni Buzzeo

Toni Buzzeo is the author of several picture books for children, including The Sea Chest, illustrated by Mary GrandPre, Dawdle Duckling, illustrated by Margaret Spengler, and most recently No T.Rex in the Library, illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa. A School Library Media Specialist, Toni lives on an old farm in Buxton, Maine with her husband. Visit her at www.tonibuzzeo.com.

Mike Wohnoutka has illustrated many children's books, including the award-winning Davey's Blue-Eyed Frog by Patricia Harrison Easton, Mama's Little Ducking by Marjorie Parker, and most recently Can't Sleep without Sheep by Susanna Leonard Hill. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two children. You can visit him at www.mikewohnoutka.com.

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