Friday, August 6, 2010

The Day the Babies Crawled Away by Peggy Rathmann

This intriguing book tells the story of the day the adults had a pie eating contest and were so busy eating that all of their babies crawled away! Nobody notices this mass exodus of infants except a toddler in a fireman's hat who immediately begins to chase the babies, round them up, and bring them back to their parents. However the babies are clever and prove to be adept at hiding from the determined toddler. The hide in trees, a cave full of bats, and a bog. The toddler makes juice for the babies by mashing up blackberries with droplets of dew, and then takes them back to their happy parents. This is a great book and there are a couple of really unique features about it. First, it is drawn entirely in silhouette, and the black shapes are set against beautiful shifting coloured backgrounds that change shades from early morning to evening. It's a really unique way to illustrate a children's book and offers a surprising number of details for such simple drawings. The other aspect of the book that I really like is the perspective it is written from. Basically it is a mother talking to the hero toddler about what happened on the day the babies crawled away. The opening sentence is "Remember the day the babies crawled away?" and the rest of the book recalls the antics of the brave little toddler and all that as done to save the wayward babies. This book has been a big hit with with toddlers and preschoolers alike over the years that I have used it. It's a wonderful read aloud book and one that can be easily retold by children who have limited language. Where to Buy: Children's booksellers or on line book dealers.

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