cover image The Cutest Critter

The Cutest Critter

Marion Dane Bauer, , photos by Stan Tekiela. . Adventure, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-59193-253-6

The creators of Some Babies Are Wild set out to answer the question, “Who's the cutest critter in the land?” Crisp, endearing photos of baby animals, most at close range, prove that there is keen competition for that title. A fawn stands on wobbly legs, a pair of raccoons tussle in a garbage can, two lynx kittens curl up together, and a wolf pup stands on its hind legs, seeming to plant a kiss on its parent's face. Bauer's simple, rhymed text ratchets up the cuteness; unfortunately, the lightening of the woodland backgrounds behind the text (presumably for enhanced legibility) is distracting, and the clumsy digital addition of certain plants and animals detracts from an otherwise appealing offering. The story concludes with a photo of a human mother and child, face-to-face: “of all the young critters I ever knew/ not a single one is cuter than you!” A roundup of the 11 species spotlighted includes informational tidbits about each. The reader-directed text is a natural for reading aloud, but it is Tekiela's photos that will be most enticing at story time. Up to age 6. (Mar.)