“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,”
With a page per line and a charmingly simple meter this is a great book for reading with the very young. Mem Fox’s text has plenty of repetition and Helen Oxenbury’s drawings of babies from across the world are both cute and beautiful. The premise is that no matter where babies come from (ice, the fields, the town, a tent) they all have ten fingers and ten toes. It’s an easy read and an obvious book to read with your baby – plenty of toe and finger tickling to be had. The story turns to indirectly address the child at the end, making it a very personal experience.
“But the next baby born was truly divine,
A sweet little child who was mine, all mine.”
There will be issues with this book if you dislike sentimentality but the final invitation to give baby “three little kisses on the tip of its nose” is great fun even for the seasoned and cynical. Babies will benefit from seeing a variety of children of different races and colours and it’s a book that was made for sharing. Both testers here at three years and one year love it.
It’s not for those who prefer edgy, humorous books, but there is no denying the simple appeal of this as a book to read to and with your baby from the very early days.