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This Is Our Baby, Born Today
     

This Is Our Baby, Born Today

by Varsha Bajaj, Eliza Wheeler (Illustrator)
 

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A baby is born and the world rejoices!

With a loving mama, a trumpeting herd, curious cousins, and even some dancing peacocks heralding this little one’s arrival, it is apparent that the joy and wonder a new baby brings is shared by all!

Varsha Bajaj’s lilting prose and Eliza Wheeler’s enchanting scenes of a wide-eyed baby elephant

Overview

A baby is born and the world rejoices!

With a loving mama, a trumpeting herd, curious cousins, and even some dancing peacocks heralding this little one’s arrival, it is apparent that the joy and wonder a new baby brings is shared by all!

Varsha Bajaj’s lilting prose and Eliza Wheeler’s enchanting scenes of a wide-eyed baby elephant and its smitten family celebrate the importance of family and community in every child’s life. Set in the lush wilds of India, this is an endearing, beautifully illustrated tribute to little ones getting their first warm welcome to the world.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
05/16/2016
Bajaj (Abby Spencer Goes to Hollywood) traces the first day in a baby elephant’s life, an event celebrated by family members, other animals, and even elements of nature itself. The soft, gently repetitive text quickly establishes a soothing message of love and acceptance: “These are Aunts,/ caring and grand,/ who circle the Baby/ born today.” (There’s a hint of “The House That Jack Built” to the episodic structure, minus the cumulative aspect.) Bajaj focuses on a female-centric cast of elephants, subtly referencing their matriarchal societies, and glancing mentions of monkeys and peacocks give a fuller look at the book’s Indian setting. Working in pen, ink, and bright watercolors, Wheeler (Wherever You Go) evokes a lush environment of towering banyan trees and dense vegetation, helping create another personified character in the setting (“This is the Lagoon,/ calm and waiting,/ to bathe the Baby/ born today”). It’s an intimate and celebratory look at the early days of an elephant’s life, and a reminder that human births are pretty special, too. Ages 3–5. Author’s agent: Jill Corcoran, Jill Corcoran Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
“Glowing . . . gorgeous artwork lushly illuminates the day of an elephant’s birth. . . . The expressions on the elephant faces are sheer joy to behold; the elephant smiles are realistic and yet radiate affection. Seemingly simple, this gentle rhyming story works on two levels: the playfulness of the young elephant and its friends ensure that young children will be able to see themselves in the story, and given the depiction of the natural scenes, at least some young readers will become fascinated with the lives of elephants as well. . . . The soft cadence of the rhyming verses and the joyous pictures of the elephants will make this a bedtime favorite.”Kirkus Reviews

“The soft, gently repetitive text quickly establishes a soothing message of love and acceptance. . . . Bajaj focuses on a female-centric cast of elephants, subtly referencing their matriarchal societies, and glancing mentions of monkeys and peacocks give a fuller look at the book’s Indian setting. . . . Wheeler evokes a lush environment of towering banyan trees and dense vegetation, helping create another personified character in the setting. It’s an intimate and celebratory look at the early days of an elephant’s life, and a reminder that human births are pretty special, too.”Publishers Weekly

“A newborn elephant is celebrated in a timeless manner by its herd and other animals in a wild Indian environment. . . . The landscape . . . is peaceful and lively. Scenes of the baby happily splashing in the water and sitting high atop a rock while gazing at the nighttime stars are especially fun and sweet. Rich vocabulary and engaging artwork are sure to delight readers and young listeners.”School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Leona Illig
Set in India, this is the story of a baby elephant’s birth and the celebration of a new life. Everyone plays a part as the baby elephant takes his first steps: his parents, relatives, neighbors, friends, and even the stars in the universe gather together to nurture the new creature. The importance of the extended family, and the widening circle of community, are the major themes in this uplifting and melodic book. The text, which contains some rhyming and some free verse, as well as the repetition of certain lines in the text, makes memorization and participation by young readers possible. The full-page illustrations use warm colors and pastels. The animated, but realistic, drawings of the elephants are endearing. At the end of the book is an author’s personal note which describes the importance of a wooden elephant in his childhood home in India. Bajaj also explains the necessity of saving the remaining elephants in both Asia and Africa. A beautiful book with lilting text and an inspiring theme, this is sure to be a favorite bedtime story for little boys and girls. Reviewer: Leona Illig; Ages 3 to 5.
School Library Journal
07/01/2016
Toddler-PreS—"This is the Baby, wrinkled and gray. This is the Baby born today." A newborn elephant is celebrated in a timeless manner by its herd and other animals in a wild Indian environment. Repetitive phrasing highlights the extensive roles played in the baby's world by not only the herd but also the lagoon, a banyan tree, peacocks, and white monkeys with black faces. The landscape, created by dip pen, India ink, and watercolor, is peaceful and lively. Scenes of the baby happily splashing in the water and sitting high atop a rock while gazing at the nighttime stars are especially fun and sweet. VERDICT Rich vocabulary and engaging artwork are sure to delight readers and young listeners.—Gaye Hinchliff, King County Library System, WA
Kirkus Reviews
2016-05-14
When a baby elephant is born, "wrinkled and gray," not just the herd, but the whole world rejoices, from morning to night. From the proud Mama to the grand Aunts, from the "fertile and firm" Earth to the ancient Banyan tree, everyone and everything around the new baby elephant joins in celebration and care for the Baby "who warms the hearts of the world today." Glowing with warm golds and greens and shadowed with deep blues and greens, the gorgeous artwork lushly illuminates the day of an elephant's birth as it is cared for by its family and surroundings. The expressions on the elephant faces are sheer joy to behold; the elephant smiles are realistic and yet radiate affection. Seemingly simple, this gentle rhyming story works on two levels: the playfulness of the young elephant and its friends ensure that young children will be able to see themselves in the story, and given the depiction of the natural scenes, at least some young readers will become fascinated with the lives of elephants as well. An author's note at the end provides background from the Indian-American author's own life and also draws attention to the present-day need to protect elephants from poaching and the loss of habitat. The soft cadence of the rhyming verses and the joyous pictures of the elephants will make this a bedtime favorite. (Picture book. 2-5)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399166846
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
08/02/2016
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
197,096
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 5 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Varsha Bajaj (www.varshabajaj.com) grew up in a rambling house in Mumbai, India, surrounded by coconut, guava and betel nut trees. When she came to the United States to obtain her master's degree, her adjustment to the country was aided by her awareness of the culture through books. She has written two previous picture books, as well as the middle-grade novel Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood, which was recently shortlisted for the Cybils Award and included on the Spirit of Texas Reading Program. She lives in Houston, Texas.
 
Eliza Wheeler (www.wheelerstudio.com) wrote and illustrated Miss Maple's Seeds and has also illustrated several picture books and novels. She grew up in northern Wisconsin in a family of teachers, musicians, and artists. Some of the strongest influences on her creativity have been the wild Wisconsin seasons, canoeing the Brule River, picking blueberries with her grandmother, and digging through the snow with her brothers. She received the SCBWI Los Angeles International Conference Portfolio Grand Prize for her artwork. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

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