Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Children's Book Review: 'My First Day: What Animals Do on Day One' by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page

My First Day: What Animals Do on Day One
by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2013

Most animals are independent from their mothers long before human children are. This delightful book for very young readers introduces children to many new animals and provides very basic information about how long their parents care for them.

The text is delightfully woven around the large, beautiful illustrations to echo meaning. For example, when describing how a baby giraffe falls from his mother at birth, the phrases "- and I landed/in a heap," are written diagonally, at sharp angles to each other, and  phrases related to water births follow gentle curves.

While the book includes many familiar animals such as tigers, ducks, penguins, and deer, it also features less common animals such as the kiwi, the blue wildebeest, the sifaka and the capybara. A page that contains an additional paragraph of information about each animal is included at the end of the book for readers who would like to know more.

The first graders I read this to enjoyed "the pictures of the animals" and "learning what they're like." Adults will appreciate the artistic skill of the illustrators and the efficiency of the authors' prose. Steve Jenkins & Robin Page are a husband-wife team who share a studio and collaborate on many children's books. I can't wait to see more from them!

Steve Jenkins and Robin Page live in Boulder, Colorado, where, along with writing and illustrating children's books, they run a graphic design studio. They have collaborated on many works, including Movel, a 2006 New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year, and the 2004 Caldecott Honor Book, What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?

Renée Vaillancourt McGrath has worked at Montana Public Radio as a program host since 2002. Her background is in librarianship and she currently works as a freelance editor and website designer and developer. Check out more of her book reviews at reneesreads.com.

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