Baby On Board – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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Title: Baby on Board, How Animals Carry Their Young

Author: Marianne Berks

Illustrator: Cathy Morrison

Publisher: Dawn, 2017

Ages: 3-7

Genre: creative nonfiction

Themes: animal young, parental behavior in animals


When you were a baby, someone carried you.
Have you wondered what animal parents do?

There are no baby backpacks,
no wraps or straps or slings,
no seats to buckle kids in,
or many other things.


In rhyme and in prose, this picture book tells of the relationship between parents and offspring of a wide variety of animals, focusing specifically on how the babies are carried by mom and dad. It begins by asking kids how they were carried then contrasts strollers and backpacks with tucked in pouches or gripping backs etc.

Why I like this book:

Beginning with asking kids how they were carried while babies helps kids connect to the animal parent behaviors. I wondered if the mix of rhyme and prose would be distracting, but the author separates a simple rhyming couplet introducing the main means of parental carrying for that animal on one page then on the other side of the spread presents some simple facts in prose. It works.  While animals like kangaroos or opossums were an obvious choice, Morrison includes some more unusual animals like the wolf spider and the anteater.

The children being carried in the opening spread are as diverse as the animals and I was very glad that loons and emperor penguins provided animals with dads as caregivers as well as moms. It’s a book that will encourage children to care for animals as they feel the same connection with their primary caregivers. All animals care for their young.

The illustrations are stunning, in a rich deep palette. The front cover is my favorite because of my otter obsession! 

This is an informative and comforting read and a great asset to a school or classroom library.


Background information is also provided for each animals as well as extra resources. The book concludes with a matching game for children, and ideas for language arts and math as well as science. 

Teachers will find that this book fits well with the primary grade science curriculum.

The publisher website provides free activities at….

If you missed my interview with the illustrator, Cathy Morrison, on Tuesday, here’s the link.


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12 Responses to Baby On Board – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. What a lovely theme for a picture book! I like how it encourages kids to care about animals. Cathy’s illustrations are realistic and simply breathtaking. Her cover reminds me of another story I read about a sea otter several years ago! 🙂

  2. Patricia Nozell says:

    So happy to see how the author connects the animal experiences back to the children’s experiences & especially happy that you noted that Dads, as well as Mothers, carry their young. Great review!

  3. I’m always crazy for new non-fiction. Thanks. I like the way this one uses a theme that will keep the information relatable to a kid’s POV.

  4. Gabi Snyder says:

    I love how this book helps kids make a self to text connection and also appreciate that it includes animal dads who are caregivers, too. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Sue Morris says:

    I love this board book. The pictures are fantastic. And iut includes daddies amoung all the mommy animals. But you said all of this in your wonderful review.

  6. Joanna, I will hunt this one down. I am interested in how Marianne worked both prose and rhyme into a board book. Thanks for finding this one! 🙂

  7. Now I can comment (from the desktop!): Cathy’s art is marvelous!

  8. Wendy Greenley says:

    The cover has hooked me! Otter love.

  9. I was immediately drawn to the amazing cover art! I can’t wait to check out this book and read it cover to cover. It sounds like a gem.

  10. Oh that cover is gorgeous. A must to get if only for the pictures. Love how it shows kids how animals relate with their young.

  11. Keila Dawson says:

    This is such a clever concept. Love that the book helps kids think of animals as parents too.

  12. Andrea Mack says:

    What a lovely looking book!

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