Kamsani Bin Salleh, What Do You Call A Baby…?, Magabala Books, May 2020, 16 pp., RRP $12.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781925360806
Baby animals never get old (haha), what I mean is the theme of baby animals is a classically appealing one for toddler books. Kamsani’s What Do You Call A Baby…? is a joyful Australian addition to this class of books.
The selection of Australian animals that feature in this board book are not just the usual suspects either. Yes, there is the echidna and the emu, but there is also the less celebrated dugong, the dingo and the goanna amongst others. The book thus provides young children (and perhaps older) with unique and new experiences about Australian animals beyond the predictable. For instance, did you know a baby goanna was called a hatchling? I didn’t.
The highlight of the book for me though, are the beautiful illustrations throughout. Kamsani Bin Salleh is a talented Indigenous artist, and he skilfully illustrates the young and parent animal, as well as their special bond in each of his drawings. The animals are realistically depicted in form but creatively rendered in calm pastel colours with just the right amount of detail added with black ink. Set against a complementary background colour the illustrations jump out of the page and are sure to capture the interest of young ones.
A charming, educative and uniquely Australian board book to share with children aged 1-4 years.
Reviewed by Julie Bertola