Here's a fun way for kids to learn about mammal babies and how they live.
If My Mom Were a Platypus: Mammal Babies and Their Mothers is a 64 page book that goes into some pretty interesting details about fourteen mammals, including koalas, orangutans, least shrews, Pacific gray whales, humans and more.
Each animal is covered in a first person narrative, told as if the animal is telling the reader how it would live. Questions are asked of the animal such as:
- How were you born?
- How did you grow?
- What do you know?
- And what do you eat?
Each animal then goes into details about these subjects, giving lots of interesting facts.
For instance, the African elephant section answers "How were you born?" with:
After nearly two years inside my mom, I was ready to be born. My mom moved close to another female elephant, steadying herself against the broad, warm back of this mom's helper. Then the other elephant cows and calves gathered round, rumbling loudly, waving their trunks, and flapping their ears. I dropped to the ground from between my mom's hind legs with a big thump.
Using their trunks, tusks, and front feet, my mom and the assisting elephant cleaned me up. Barely twenty minutes after I was born, I was standing on wobbly legs. My mom powdered me with huge clouds of dust to help dry me off. Then she slipped away for a drink. The other elephants took care of me until my mom came back.
Each animal's pages are accompanied by many color and brown and white drawings.
Eight of the fourteen mammals covered are threatened species.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the human baby in this instance is born in a birthing center, with the assistance of a midwife. The baby breastfeeds and extended breastfeeding is treated as the norm (as it was historically in all cultures until fairly recently and still is in many families, of course).
If My Mom Were a Platypus was written by Dia L. Michels and illustrated by Andrew Barthelmes. It is published by Platypus Media, who provided me with a review copy of the book. I read it to my sons (ages 6 and 10), two or three animals at a time. They both enjoyed the book, and sometimes asked me to read one more before I stopped. We all learned facts that we hadn't known before and enjoyed the book.
Platypus Media is also the publisher of 65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Science!, which I reviewed recently, and other books for children and families. The publisher describes their purpose as:
Platypus Media is an independent publisher dedicated to creating and distributing materials about family life. We want to be the premier source of products that have a broad appeal to families from different cultures and backgrounds. We believe in the importance of family closeness to the full and healthy development of children. Our goal is to bring products to the market that parents love, children enjoy, teachers appreciate, and parenting professionals value.
A free 16-page activity guide is available (PDF) is available to accompany the book.
The book is recommended for ages 8-12 and grades three through six, but my 6 year-old was quite interested in the book. I'd recommend it for younger children as long as it's broken into smaller reading sessions.
If My Mom Were a Platypus is available in paperback, Spanish, Hebrew and Dutch - priced from $9.95 to 16.95. It is also available in a set with the platypus plush toy. It can also be purchased through sites such as Amazon.com.
The book is recommended by the National Science Teachers Association.
This is an interesting, informative book that does a good job of showing the many ways mammal babies live and grow.
Note: I was provided with a review copy of this book but no compensation for this review. The links in this review are not affiliate links, and all opinions are my own.
Want to stay in the loop? Subscribe to my column to be notified when new articles are published. You can also follow my homeschool boards for all subjects and ages on Pinterest and on Facebook at A Magical Homeschool.