Babies love books. After all, what’s not to love? Bright colors, engaging characters, simple words. But babies are short on restraint. Normal books won’t stand up to their curious little hands.
What is the answer? Board books. Thick cardboard pages — not very many of them — too sturdy for tiny fingers to tear. Strong enough, also, to take on a little water if those bright and interesting pages end up in a little mouth.
I especially enjoyed the latest board book offerings from Orca Books, long known for high quality books for little ones. These latest two are beautifully drawn and celebrity written, with award winning poet Lorna Crozier writing one and children’s book author extraordinaire, Charles Ghigna, writing the other.
So Many Babies (August, 2015) shows all sorts of babies, each cozied up in their natural habitat. And so we see little piggies reclining on bales of hay; raccoon and turtle babies traversing the wilderness over logs and bear babies charmingly cuddled up with their mother in a cave. Lorna Crozier, an Officer of the Order of Canada and an internationally celebrated poet, her provides simple but rhyming text in support of Laura Watson’s illustrations. And the book is a winner, of course: who can resist baby animals? (Not me!)
Even so, I especially loved A Carnival of Cats by Charles Ghigna, who has sometimes been called Father Goose. Ghigna has written over 100 books and here contributes a charming pet tale that could just as easily have been called “What cat is that?” On each spread a different kind of cat is seen, and on the following page introduced. (“Stripes and spots. Round and flat. Could that be a… Tabby Cat!”) Charmingly illustrated by Kristi Bridgeman (There Once Was A Camel, Uirapurù) the crude by beautiful illustrations are sure to enchant even the youngest reader.
If you’re looking for a book that can be read, enjoyed, chewed upon and abused in almost every imaginable, A Carnival of Cats and So Many Babies are sure to delight.