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*One Naked Baby* by Maggie Smith
One Naked Baby
by Maggie Smith
Ages 4-8 40 pages Knopf February 2007 Hardcover    

With One Naked Baby, Maggie Smith has managed what so many authors of picture books fail to do – provide a lot of opportunities to practice important skills (like counting up to and down from 10) while also entertaining kids enough so they won’t really know they’re learning. In this case, she does it with simple, charming text and fabulous watercolors.

The illustrations are bright, cheery, and full of hidden treasures: a polka-dotted catnip mouse, a favorite toy crocodile, elephants and ladybugs, hearts and flowers. The naked baby in the title - who is never named and whose gender remains a mystery – is a playful round-faced tot who leads his mother - and readers - through the maze of his day.

It’s a fast-paced story with energetic rhymes and bold text. Kids will stay interested as they’re called upon to search out the “four silly hats” or “nine tiny chicks” that Baby encounters. The integration of words and numbers, as well as a running number line, will benefit kids who are just learning to count, but the silly story will entertain early readers as well.

Another illustrative choice that is a hit with younger kids is the "map" on the front and back inside covers on which they can trace Baby’s trail all through the adventures of the day.

Young children will love following Baby - from the moment he (?) dashes from his morning bath, all through getting dressed and eating a meal, gearing up to go outside, digging in the dirt & splashing through puddles, right until he gets placed back in his bath at the end of the day. And parents won’t mind reading One Naked Baby again and again, as there’s plenty to discover in these detailed and magnificent illustrations.

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  Melissa McLaughlin/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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