cover image Wild Baby

Wild Baby

Cori Doerrfeld. HarperCollins, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-269894-0

Impulse control? Not for Doerrfeld’s little orangutan, who’s a “wild baby on the run!” With the baby’s increasingly frantic mother in hot pursuit (“Wild jump. Wild free./ Wild baby wait for me!’”), the little primate gets in all the other jungle families’ business, including the egg-filled nest of a furious mama bird (“Wild hands on everything!”). Unbeknownst to the wee hominid—but obvious to readers—the shenanigans have roused a leopard who would love a wild baby snack. Will Mama see the threat and come to the rescue in time? And just how angry will she be? Doerrfeld’s reliance on “wild” to drive the rhyming text grows a little repetitive, but her digitally painted forest illustrations have marvelous momentum, striking the right balance between mischievous energy, glee, and the genuine seriousness of the situation. She establishes a vivid sense of place as the mama, baby, and stealthy leopard move through the lush, blue-green tree canopy—and, just as in real life (as adult readers will ruefully note), she shows how everyone else in the jungle becomes transfixed by the chase. Ages 4–8. Agent: Rachel Orr, Prospect Agency. [em](Mar.) Correction: A previous version of this review called the orangutan a monkey; orangutans are great apes.[/em]