Saturday, May 10, 2014

Book Review: Ten Little Babies by Gyo Fujikawa (1989)

A group of babies dwindles from ten to one as they engage in daily activities and lose members to such things as play time, tummy aches, and seasickness in this classic board book.

This is a larger board book, and each illustration fills a two-page spread. It suits a number of popular themes for babies and toddlers including babies, counting, and even family. Gyo Fujikawa’s babies are diverse, mischievous, playful, and full of life. The text is a simple rhyme, but the story is really in the illustrations, where little faces convey everything from delight to outright anger. The babies are both childlike and comically adult, adopting mature stances and facial expressions even as they drink from bottles and dig in the sand. The babies are easy to count on each page, always appearing in formations with plenty of space between one baby and the next. The baby who leaves the group at the end of each verse is also easily identifiable on each spread, and little ones will have fun picking him out each time.

This book is similar to Karen Katz’s Ten Tiny Babies, and to many of the baby board books by Helen Oxenbury in which groups of babies participate in various activities. Mem Fox’s Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes is another perfect readalike. People looking for old-fashioned kids’ books with a classic feel will be thrilled with this one, which feels both timeless and contemporary.

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