CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 20 . . . . January 26, 2018
Professional photographer Suzi Eszterhas photographed 13 young animals for her picture book, Baby Animals Playing. They are photographed in their natural habitat, interacting with their siblings or a parent. Short, descriptive sentences appear in boxes beside each colour photograph. The book begins with a lion cub and continues with animals such as lemurs, racoon kits, gorillas, and bison. Eszterhas travels all over the world to ensure her photographs tell stories that children and animal conservationists can connect with. Her photographs capture predictable behaviours, such as when the animals are hiding, tumbling, wrestling, swimming, and running, but there is also the unexpected picture or two. The jackal pups play with elephant poop, and a cheetah cub sits on his mom's head. The book ends with a capybara asleep on his parent's back. Many of the photographs are full-page spreads or large framed compositions. The wording of the text is playful, yet educational. Young readers will discover baby animals play so they can learn to hunt, eat, and escape. Back material includes a two page introduction from the author. She includes background stories about some of the animals she photographed for the book, and the baby polar bear (not included in the main story) she encountered on another assignment. This nonfiction, easy picture book will be appreciated by animal lovers and nonfiction readers who like to read books with a lot of pictures.
Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.