The Cutest Critter by Marion Dane Bauer

48361110Lynn: You just cannot go wrong with pictures of baby animals but this charming book is something special. “Who’s the cutest critter in the land, ” asks the rhyming text of this beautifully designed new book. Each two-page spread in The Cutest Critter (Adventure 2010) features a single line of text opposite a full page photograph. Stan Tekiela’s gorgeous photographs feature adorable babies and a variety of species from fox kits to goslings to baby skunks. Cameos of the animals and information about each animal follow the story.

This is a perfect lap book to use with preschoolers but I also used it in a storytime with a class of first graders who loved it too. The pictures are big enough for a group to see and elicited oohs and ahhhs and lots of discussion about which animal really was the cutest critter. My group was evenly split between the lynx kittens, the wolf pups and the little fox. Set this sweet book up on display and watch it vanish out the door with the first child that sees it. File this under “Why Didn’t I Think of This Great Idea?”

Cindy: I love baby animals as much as the next gal, and I can see the potential of this book for young storytime or lap reading, but something about the design really bugged me. The page opposite each full page photo is also a photo, but with a really large foggy section (almost the whole page) with the text clearly readable in the center of that fog. In a corner, one of the baby animals is highlighted in unmuted color. The whole effect made me think of a greeting card. Maybe I’m becoming a curmudgeon, or maybe it’s that I am parenting older teens now, who often leave me thinking they are not quite the “cutest critters” around, but this book left me nonfictionmonday1wanting.

Thank you to The Miss Rumphuis Effect for hosting Nonfiction Monday.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

2 Comments on "The Cutest Critter by Marion Dane Bauer"

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  1. I love it having two different views of the book! Makes me even more curious to read it for myself and see where I stand on it. I think it is so important to read kids books with kids and see their reaction – I’ve just gotten hold of the new Oliver Jeffers which I LOVED but which has left my eldest singularly unmoved. Doesn’t mean it’s not a great book, but I do have to accept she has different preferences to me.

  2. Zoe, I do hope you track it down and let us know where you stand. I’ll be happy to be proven wrong–in fact Lynn’s test audience already has put me in my place and who’s going to argue with 25 first graders? Not me. 😉 –Cindy

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