Baby Animals Playing

photos by Suzi Eszterhas. 24p. (Baby Animals). Owlkids. Oct. 2017. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9781771472975. POP
PreS-Gr 1–Up-close images of baby creatures in their natural habitats are what lend this beautiful photo journal its authentic quality. Eszterhas has captured endearing moments in which the furry (and not so furry) little ones are shown climbing, perching, swinging, racing, and tumbling. The author proposes that these fun activities—familiar to young readers themselves—are not only forms of play in the animal kingdom but also preparation for behaviors that they will need for their future survival. ("She is playing now, but one day this is how she will protect herself in the wild.") The text is spare but effective—brief statements about each baby's type of movement. Among the creatures represented are lions, lemurs, raccoons, gorillas, giraffes, orangutans, bison, dolphins, and capybaras. Back matter includes additional photos with an author's note that details Eszterhas's travels and her mission as a wildlife photographer and conservationist.
VERDICT Best suited for group sharing and also ideal for newly independent readers who delight in nonfiction.

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