Maggie Smith's One Naked Baby
Book review by Sherri Trudgian
Counting to ten and back again
Why write a review on a simple counting book? Because One Naked Baby by Maggie Smith deserves it. The title alone is bound to catch any mother’s attention. Couple it with a front cover depicting a toddler making a dash for freedom (private parts discreetly covered by a towel of course) and you’ve got me.
The reader is given a sneak preview of naked baby’s entire day on the inside fly. Just follow the dotted line to see what’s in store, as we encounter the numbers one through ten, and then ten back through one. Fresh from his morning bath baby makes a clean escape as the first number one only to be the final (muddy) number one placed back into the tub at the end of the day!
There is a sense of security, stability and contentment in family rituals. Every child loves bath time. Squishy fishes, rubber duckies and pruney fingers always seem to outlast bubbles and warm water.
Every illustration in One Naked Baby is a delight. Maggie uses things that are fun and indicative of a child’s world. The eyes of a penguin, bunny slippers, snake, rubber ducky and giraffe are all focused on naked baby as he is chased by mama down the hall.
Everything and everyone in Maggie’s illustrations are happy except for one sad puppy holding a stick in his mouth. He obviously still wants to play.
Two fat cats lounging on top of a pile of dirty clothes find their sleep suddenly interrupted by naked baby hiding from his mama. Although he crouches behind three overflowing laundry baskets, the small bunny blanket fails to cover his chubby butt cheeks. This particular page brings all kinds of giggles. Perhaps it is that little bit of naughtiness that makes these illustrations so appealing.
Our not so naked baby tries on four silly hats as he decides which one to wear out in the rain. My personal favorite is the big sombrero worn by puppy.
Baby manages to stay clean through five toes for tickling, eating six crunchy fish and seven bunny cookies, doing up his eight shiny buttons, donning his rain hat with nine tiny chicks, and being greeted in the garden by ten happy daffodils just drenched by the rain.
Outside we quickly descend into a boy’s world of dirt. There are nine stones to step across, eight robins to splash in the bird bath, seven wiggly worms to dig up in the garden, six chipmunks to chase, five broken sticks to pick up, four perfect puddles to jump in, three wet puppies to wrestle, and two froggy boots to leave outside. Finally we come full circle to one naked baby being lifted back into the tub still clutching a stick and covered in mud.
I appreciate the fact that Maggie knows children and is familiar with the learning process. Her repetition of ascending and descending numbers reinforces learning. She has strategically placed the numbers one through ten on each page and then highlighted the focus number.
Your child will have fun looking for the familiar toys and animals that show up in many of the illustrations. The green alligator seems to be a particular favorite. There are also plenty of extra items to count in each picture such as toadstools, butterflies and squirrels in the garden scenes.
Book review - One Naked Baby
Maggie has incorporated a wide range of vivid colors in her illustrations which are not only pleasing to the eye but help hold a child’s attention. In her landscapes there are pink cherry and white apple blossoms, delicate purple violets, yellow pansies, white birch trees, green ferns and fiddleheads.
Baby’s clothes (when he is clothed) are also very colorful, consisting of a bright yellow rain hat, red/blue jacket, green froggy boots and a blue/yellow polka dot turtle umbrella. Everything a connoisseur of toddler rainwear could possibly wish for!
There will be no good housekeeping seal of approval awarded to this young mother. The house is clearly in disarray. The piles of laundry, trucks, balls and stuffed animals scattered throughout the house, wilted flowers in pots askew on the porch all testify to the fact that she has a very energetic little boy! Unkempt house, haggard mother, many of us can empathize with her but I’m certain we wouldn’t have it any other way.
One Naked Baby is both fun and educational. Not only will your toddler have fun learning to count but the simple phrasing is ideal for early readers. Every naked baby (and their parents) will love reading this one.
Read more of Sherri's book reviews.
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