What happens when an emperor penguin egg hatches in the cold Antarctic ice? What are the first years like for a baby elephant? Kids ask the tough questions. Parents and caregivers, teachers and reading specialists have a brand-new series of non-fiction picture books for their animal-loving kids. Or, perhaps an introduction to a discussion about caring and respecting all creatures, great and small.
The American Museum of Natural History has partnered with Sterling Books to create a series that features beautiful nature photography and a child-friendly explanation of how newborns survive in the wild, joining loving families and protective parents who will keep them well-nourished. The elephant and emperor penguin families are just two animals in the series that also include baby pandas, baby wolf pups and baby dolphins.
Who would think that once an emperor penguin egg has hatched, it’s the mother who travels miles to the ocean to find food while daddy stays behind to care for the little one? Have a contest to see who can guess how much a newborn African savannah elephant babe weighs. (A whopping 200 pounds!) It’s been said that in order to care for something, we need to learn more about it, to see the common bonds, and these books serve that purpose.
Sharon Stulberg, a senior director at the AMNH tells us that the intent was to provide young readers with scientifically accurate books explaining how different wild animals experience life as they grow from babies to adults. The large format makes the books more appealing and a more impactful read page after page. In one photo, we see the newborn elephant standing amongst a sea of the much larger limbs of the adults, yet never getting lost in the crowd. And, who can resist the loving portrait of the new emperor penguin daddy bending down in the snow to check on his new baby!
The animals in the series were selected based on a variety of factors, says Stulberg. “As the series grows, our aim is to present animals from a variety of groups as well as from a variety of environments. Each species is also chosen based on, among other factors, the individual animal’s appeal.” The authors of the elephant and penguin series were chosen from the museum’s staff, specialists in that animal family, and who have a lifelong love of the animal world.
The list of animals in the series continues to grow as the newest entry Baby Lions Join the Pride, joins the pack in July 2019.
Photo credit: ©AMNH/R. Mickens