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Mem Fox has written over 38 books for adults and children including Possum Magic, which has sold over three million copies and is the bestselling picture book ever in Australia. Mem has been presented with many awards including an AM in the 1993 Australia Day Honours for services to the cultural life of Australia; an SA Great Award for Literature in 2001; the Prime Minister's Centenary Medal in 2003; and she was shortlisted for the Australian of the Year in 2004. She worked as an Associate Professor of Literacy Studies in the School of Education at Flinders University, South Australia for twenty-four years and is now an international literacy consultant. Mem's books with Penguin include Where is the Green Sheep?, Hunwick's Egg, A Particular Cow, Where The Giant Sleeps, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, Hello Baby!, The Goblin and the Empty Chair, A Giraffe in the Bath and most recently Baby Bedtime. She lives in Adelaide, Australia. 'Mem Fox's books are like a warm blanket; they have a way of making the world seem a little cosier.' Sunday Age
PreS-"There was one little baby/who was born far away./And another who was born/on the very next day./And both of these babies,/as everyone knows,/had ten little fingers/and ten little toes." So opens this nearly perfect picture book. Fox's simple text lists a variety of pairs of babies, all with the refrain listing the requisite number of digits, and finally ending with the narrator's baby, who is "truly divine" and has fingers, toes, "and three little kisses/on the tip of its nose." Oxenbury's signature multicultural babies people the pages, gathering together and increasing by twos as each pair is introduced. They are distinctive in dress and personality and appear on primarily white backgrounds. The single misstep appears in the picture of the baby who was "born on the ice." The child, who looks to be from Northern Asia or perhaps an Inuit, stands next to a penguin. However, this minor jarring placement does not detract enough from the otherwise ideal marriage of text and artwork to prevent the book from being a first purchase. Whether shared one-on-one or in storytimes, where the large trim size and big, clear images will carry perfectly, this selection is sure to be a hit.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Put two titans of kids' books together for the first time, and what do you get (besides the urge to shout, "What took you so long?")? The answer: an instant classic. Fox's (Time for Bed) text works off the simplest premise: babies around the world, even those who seem like polar opposites, have the same 20 digits in common. But there's real magic at work here. Given their perfect cadences, the rhymes feel as if they always existed in our collective consciousness and were simply waiting to be written down: "There was one little baby who was born far away./ And another who was born on the very next day./ And both of these babies, as everyone knows/ had ten little fingers and ten little toes." Oxenbury (We're Going on a Bear Hunt) once again makes multiculturalism feel utterly natural and chummy. As her global brood of toddlers grows--she introduces two cast members with every new stanza--readers can savor each addition both as beguiling individualist and giggly, bouncy co-conspirator. Ages 3-5. (Oct.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Nobody draws babies like Helen Oxenbury does. She is one of the most popular and acclaimed illustrators in the world and Mem Fox of course, is an Australian icon. The pairing of these two awesome talents is inspired. The reader is taken on a trip around the world, to meet babies in many different countries. What transpires is a procession of laughing, expressive, delightful babies. And they all have, as you would expect, ten little fingers and ten little toes. But it is the final baby that makes the book so special and relevant to the toddler sitting on a lap sharing the book and the related actions. Mem Fox's text is simple, repetitious and rhyming, gentle and loving without being twee or schmaltzy. Helen Oxenbury's illustrations are also simple, uncluttered and focussed. Her touch is so gentle and understated, but she is able to achieve a definite character and nationality for every baby. Her babies are varied, cute and adorable, and the love in the final pictures is palpable. This is a perfect read-aloud picture book for early childhood, a celebration of babies, full of warmth and appeal. It was a joy to read and a pleasure to hold. Margaret Hamilton is a former children's publisher. She now provides freelance publishing services and reviews