Close to You – Kimiko Kajikawa


Animal parents and their young have unique ways of bonding. In Close to You: How Animals Bond, by Kimiko Kajikawa, beautiful photos of animal parents and babies are paired with charming text. The reader is treated to cuddling polar bears, a kangaroo in its mother’s pouch, an alligator baby being carried in mom’s mouth, caressing manatees, a baby penguin balancing on a parent’s toes, and more.

Children love to look at animals, especially baby animals. This would be a sweet book for bedtime stories. The text is simple enough for very young children. I would also recommend it for early readers and any children interested in animals. The back of the book has interesting information on each animal, including a chart that has number of babies, the weight at birth and maturity, and the age of independence. Older children will love hearing more details.

Close To You would make a nice gift for new babies, new siblings, or Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

Kajikawa is a former high school librarian. Her book, Sweet Dreams: How Animals Sleep is a similar format to Close to You. Here again, sweet photographs of wild and domestic animals are paired with brief lines of rhyming text. The page with “Lions sleep wherever they please” shows lions sacked out in a tree. Readers are invited to think about their own sleeping postures and habits. Kajikawa is also the author of Yoshi’s Feast, and Tsunami!, which is scheduled to be released in 2009. Her website shows her education background. She has lesson plans for her books! As the daughter of a Japanese mother and American father, she enjoys taking Japanese folklore and adapting it for American audiences.

Other Picture Books to Consider:

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale – Mo Willems

The Tom and Pippo Books – Helen Oxenbury

Great Book Ideas for Babies & Toddlers