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*Baby Beluga (Raffi Songs to Read)* by Raffi, illustrated by Ashley Wolff

Also by Raffi:

Shake My Sillies Out

Five Little Ducks

Baby Beluga (Raffi Songs to Read)
by Raffi, illustrated by Ashley Wolff
Baby-preschool 32 pages Crown March 1992 Paperback    

It's fairly unlikely that anyone with a child today isn't familiar with at least one tune - think "The Wheels on the Bus" - by ubiquitous kids' music king Raffi, whether or not they know it. I personally know of Baby Beluga from its performance by Australian kid-targeted entertainers The Wiggles, but that doesn't lessen the treat of sharing the "Raffi Songs to Read" version of the sweet ditty about a little white whale with my daughters.

Ashley Wolff's illustrations of the baby whale alternately frolicking with other Arctic animals, singing, and snuggling with his big, protective mama provide a quietly reassuring counterpoint to Raffi's lilting melody (the notation, along with all four verses, is included on the last page). Baby Beluga swims so wild and free with salmon, narwhals, harp seals and walruses (and, of course, her mother) while puffins and seagulls wheel in the sky above. She leaps out of the water along with a playful pod of orcas, and an Inuit girl in a kayak paddles close by. As night falls, Baby Beluga rests with her mother in the water while two polar bear cubs cuddle close to their own mother in an ice cave, all under a pastel soft arc of the Northern lights.

Two of the most powerful developmental tools for small children - books and songs - come together in the "Raffi Songs to Read" books. If your child doesn't already know this particular Raffi song, you can bet that it will have become a familiar friend by the time he or she encounters it in preschool or the early elementary years.

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  Sharon Schulz-Elsing/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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