I Was Born a Baby

HarperCollins. Apr. 2022. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780063157217.
K-Gr 2–Adorable, simplified illustrations of wide-eyed baby animals appear in colorful scenes alongside their formal diminutives: “calves” for young giraffes, whales, and hippos; “chicks” for different kinds of birds. In a funny first-person narration, and along with a surprised-looking Black child, the animals tell readers what they are: “I was born a baby.” “I was born a colt.” “I was born a piglet.” “I was born a billy goat.” In briskly rhythmic text, Fleming then expounds on the life cycle of a few creatures, e.g., tadpole, to froglet, to toadlet. In another case, the conversation is about all the “kids” who aren’t actually human. It’s a lighthearted look at naming and categorization, and not intended to be comprehensive; the emphasis is on babies, erratic naming conventions, and the joy of being young.
VERDICT Other volumes take this topic on, but for educators seeking a breezy approach, this is a nice addition to the shelves.

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