PPBF: The Day the Babies Crawled Away

Author/Illustrator: Peggy Rathmann
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2003
Age Level: 2-6
Themes: babies, rescue, picnicking, stories in rhyme
Opening: Remember the day the babies crawled away? We moms and dads were eating pies, the babies saw some butterflies– and what do you know? Surprise! Surprise! The babies crawled away!
Summary: A boy follows five babies who crawl away from a picnic and saves the day by bringing them back.

Why I like this book: I like it despite it’s imperfections. Nay! I love it all the more because it’s not perfect. It’s genuine. I found it incredibly easy and fun to read aloud – even to myself! You can’t help but inflect it with lighthearted pleasure! Might just be the book to help the beginning babysitter, or mind-numbing nanny, learn how to read with kids! The rhyme isn’t tight, but I think that’s what I like – it’s natural! Of course, I am a sucker for silhouettes, and though I am not particularly fond of 80’s neon color-scream, it adds to the unlikely twists. I read somewhere that parents might not like showing a parental inattentiveness, but I have had a baby crawl away, and a toddler ride a bike with training wheels so fast only the ice cream sign at the kiosk stopped her from reaching the main street, and my kids LOVE to hear the tales of their own escape!

Activities: Create pictures with scratch paper, the kind that looks black until you scratch away to reveal bright rainbow colors. You can buy it ready made, but when I was a kid, we made our own, by covering a piece of paper with crayon and painting it over in black. Mom didn’t care for the mess, but didn’t mind it on the patio!

Go to Susanna Hill’s blog for more Perfect Picture Books and activities.