Monday, March 22, 2010

Children's Book: The Bog Baby

Wow, it has been a long time since I have shared a favorite children's book. With the arrival of spring, The Bog Baby has come in quite handy, so I will share my love for it today...

Have you read this book? The Bog Baby is written by creature-loving Jeanne Willis, and illustrated by adorable-creature-creator, Gwen Millward. It is a sweet tale about two children who discover an adorable creature, the Bog Baby, and take it home to make it their pet. But Bog Baby's were not meant to live outside of their natural habitat (bogs); so lessons of the heart and nature (and honesty) are learned.

This is the perfect springtime book, as my children are becoming enamored with worms, grubs, and slugs, and they beg to adopt each one that they discover in the backyard to keep as a pet. But worms, slugs, and grubs are not meant to live in houses, and in houses they do not fare well. The Bog Baby has been a fabulous way to explain to them why worms, slugs, and grubs are best left in the backyard where they will thrive (or become chicken food, but that is another book).

I have to admit, I adopted many a frog, salamander, and firefly when I was a child. I want my children to experience a love for all creatures big and small, and respect for the impact that they can have with their actions. Not that I expect them to get that at 4 and 2 years old, but it is a starting point. In the back of the book there is a place to write down information about your Bog Baby finding experience, which has prompted several drawings and lists of details over here.

Have you read any of the many books that Jeanne Willis has written? She has written many, and I have loved all of the ones I have read. All of my Jeanne Willis favorites have lovely life lessons told in kind and gentle ways, just like in The Bog Baby. Draft Bat is another important life lesson in a sweet story book example.

I am also in love with Gwen Millward's illustrations; she brings sweetness and magic (two things I am very attracted to in books, obviously) to life. She also illustrated Guess What I Found in Dragonwood, by Timothy Knapman--and er illustrations make me want to live in Dragonwood. The Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward team have a new love-all-creepy-crawlies book, The King of Tiny Things, which I hope to get my hands on soon...

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