Heller, Ruth. Animals Born Alive and Well. Grosset & Dunlap, New York: 1982.
Age range: 2-6
The colorful illustrations found in Animals Born Alive and Well spill across the two-page spreads in beautiful detail. Both charming and realistic, the animals pictured range from the easily recognizable (cat, giraffe) to the exotic (pangolin, okapi) and are labeled for easy identification. Readers will also learn that mammals aren’t limited to walking on the ground. They may fly (bat) swim (dolphin) or burrow (mole). The rhymed text makes the words roll off the tongue, and the illustrations often help to show the meaning of more difficult words. For example, one page reads, “So are CAMELS, and like all others, they are nourished by their mothers.” (p.13) Directly below the text is a picture of a baby camel nursing – being nourished by its mother. Heller even teaches the reader an especially big, scientific word at the end of the book: viviparous. She helpfully breaks it down into syllables, making it easier for the young reader (and the reading or assisting parent!) to sound out.
Animals Born Alive and Well fills the needs both of an entertaining book and an educational book. Children will learn facts about mammals and names of different types of mammals, but they will also enjoy listening to the rhyming and pointing out different animals from the illustrations. The vast number of animals pictured alone will provide incentive for many repeated readings.
From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
It Started as an Egg by Kimberlee Graves
Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones by Ruth Heller
About Mammals: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill