Mamas and Babies

Penguin Workshop/Rise X. Feb. 2024. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593659281.
PreS-K–The maternal bond is tenderly illustrated in watercolor portraits featuring 13 mothers and babies in the wild, with each accompanied by facts on how female parents care for their young. In a book clearly designed for adults to read, with an elegant script font, Matheson fully uses space to highlight the details and beauty of each species. The wolf spider, covered with hundreds of spiderlings, is a play of shadow and texture with her bright eyes and children. Her children climb on her back, for “she wants to keep them close and safe” and it’s a brilliant spark about motherhood amongst the traditional species. Besides the wolf spider, other described maternal bonds include polar bears, kangaroos, penguins, deer, swans, alligators, humpback whales, elephants, cheetah, giraffes, orangutans, and grizzly bears. The specificity of some names and not others—humpback whales versus penguins—creates an unevenness to the work.
VERDICT An additional selection where animal books are in high demand.

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