cover image My First Day

My First Day

Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, illus. by Steve Jenkins. Houghton Mifflin, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-547-73851-2

There are many books about animal babies, but Jenkins and Page, whose 2003 collaboration What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? received a Caldecott Honor, stand out by zeroing in on the first day of existence. Their continuum of 22 animals runs from "Even more helpless than a human" (the Siberian tiger whose eyes are shut at birth) to "Get with the program" ("My herd stays on the move," says a newborn blue wildebeest, "and I have to keep up!") and "You're on your own, kid" (the newly hatched leatherback turtle must dodge danger by itself). Jenkins uses an impressive array of textured cut paper to capture the characters in all their furry, prickly, and downy glory. Not surprisingly, many portraits are of mothers with their offspring, but one example of male parenting is sure to stick in readers' minds: Darwin's frog, which creates a kind of nursery in its throat (Jenkins shows the offspring jauntily peeking out from his father's mouth, like nature's idea of a nesting doll). Brief, detailed profiles of each animal close out this handsome examination of child-rearing across the animal kingdom. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (Jan.)