What did you do on your first day — the day you were born?
Steve Jenkins and Robin Page answer this question in their children’s book My First Day by describing what happens to animals after they are born. Readers will see that the beginning of animal life is dramatically varied among the twenty-two types highlighted and lovingly illustrated here using paper collage techniques.
- A one ounce baby wood duck falls from high up in a tree following its mother and siblings to water. But it’s not the only animal to take a great fall. A giraffe tucks its head and falls about five feet to the ground at birth. But don’t worry, neither are injured.
- Some animals are more sedentary like the two pound Siberian Tiger cub, which like human babies do little more than sleep and nurse their first few days.
- Darwin’s frog hops from a pouch inside its father’s mouth having undergone the transformation from egg to tadpole to frog safe from predators.
- Unlike humans, animal parents don’t have the opportunity to go out and buy a Baby Bjorn so they have different ways of carrying their babies and keeping them protected. Another way baby animals stay safe is to hitch a ride on its mama’s back. The sifaka, a type of lemur and the golden snub-nosed monkey both cling to their mother’s fur when they are on the go.
Another 2013 work of high-interest nonfiction that features animals is Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola M. Schaefer. The author makes estimates based on the average adult life span of animals & insects in the wild. Selected facts are stand-alone conversation starters so illustrator Christopher Silas Neal’s mix of drawing, painting, print making and digital art make this a memorable read.
Lifetime is packed with interesting tidbits. Here are a few of my favorites.
- An alligator will build 22 nest and lay 550 eggs.
- A male seahorse will carry and birth 1,000 baby seahorses.
- A caribou will grow and shed 10 sets of antlers.