What Did I Look Like When I Was a Baby?
Jeanne Willis. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23595-5
The collaborators of the Dr. Xargle series here take humorous aim at the title question, beginning with a boy and proceeding to a variety of animal characters. Ross's cartoonlike illustrations complement the puns and double entendres in the text, often incorporating thought bubbles for emphasis. For instance, a young hippo pictures himself as a tyke with a pacifier, rattle and bonnet, and his mother assures him he looked ""the same as you do now, only smaller... Of course, you weighed a ton even then."" A few of the mothers' answers divulge nature facts, such as the mother chameleon: ""The only thing that's changed is your color.... Oh, there you go again!"" she says, as Ross pictures the offspring turning from gray to blue. All the animals are satisfied except for the final creature, a bullfrog. ""Don't even ask!"" says his mother. In response to his persistent queries, she finally shows him a photograph of himself as a tadpole, which horrifies him so much he hides. He only emerges when his brothers and sisters sing ""The Bullfrog Song"": ""Little bullfrog babies/ Don't look like frogs at all/ They're small and black and slimy,/ And they cannot hop or crawl..."" A musical arrangement follows the song (or the lyrics can also be sung to ""Miss Lucy Had a Steamboat""). A hilarious approach to a common question. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2000