Whose Baby? by Masayuki Yabuuchi: Wild Animals and Their Babies
Animal babies and their mothers interest young children. The text is simple but informative -- perfect for the preschool classroom. Why not use this book to extend activities in the classroom for a theme on animals in the wild?
About the Author
Masayuki Yabuuchi was born 1940 in Osaka and became interested in animals of the wild at an early age. After graduating high school, he moved to Tokyo to work for a publisher drawing nature pictures for guides and books. Most of his work was done in Japan and later translated into English. Yabuuchi also produced artwork for Japanese stamps. He won literary awards and some for creativity. He died at 60 in 2000. His son opened an art museum in his honor in 2004 in Japan.
Circle Time Presentations
During Circle Time, read the book “Whose Baby?” Talk about the animals in the book as well as animals with which the children are familiar. Most preschoolers will be able to name babies of farm animals, pets and the more popular animals at the zoo.
At the end of the story, ask the children if they remember the wild animal parents and their babies.
Whose baby is a pup?
Whose father is a buck?
Whose baby is a cub?
Whose mother is a peahen?
Whose baby is a calf?
You may have to go back into the book and show the pictures for the children to recall the answers.
Sorting Animals (Math)
Purchase packages of plastic animals (zoo, farm and wild jungle animals can be found in toy stores, dollar stores or online). Place all the animals on a table and invite the children to sort them by kind (all the chickens together, all the pigs, all the dogs, etc.), then by color and then by size. You may also want to classify them by types, such as which belong in the zoo, on a farm, in the jungle or at home.
Another extension idea is to purchase a large bag of animal crackers and give each child a handful to sort. Bring out cups of milk (or juice) and use these animal cookies for snack.
Create a Peacock (Art)
This is a fun craft to make using a unique art material -- cardboard paint chips. Ask your paint store or large building supply store to donate some paint chips to your class. These are free from paint suppliers and great for class art projects.
To make the peacock you will need:
- Blue and green paint chips
- Paper plate
- Blue construction paper
- Safety scissors
- Black marker
- Wine cork
- Black paint
- Googly eyes (optional)
- Take the cardboard paint chips and trim the tops to have rounded edges. Make a fan alternating the blue and green colors. Staple the fan at the bottom to secure it.
- Glue the entire fan onto a paper plate.
- Invite the children to use a wine cork to make spots on the peacock’s feathers. Place black tempera paint into a shallow container. Dip the cork into the black paint and randomly print circles on the feathers.
- Draw a peacock body on blue construction paper. Outline it with a black marker. If your students have good cutting skills, they can cut out the shape alone. Glue the peacock body onto the paper plate over the feathers.
- Finish the peacock with a distinctive eye. Either draw an eye with markers or glue on a plastic one.
Preschoolers love to pretend to be animals. Encourage them to pantomime the ways different animals move. Try these examples from animals in the book:
Stretch (your feathers) like a peacock
Tiptoe and sneak like a fox
Walk and growl like a lion
Perform like a seal
Run like a bison
Trot like a deer
Why not act like these animals too?
Stretch like a giraffe
Walk like an elephant
Run like a bear
Gallop like a horse
Walk and giggle like a monkey
What a Beautiful Baby (Science)
Show the children a picture of yourself as an adult and ask them to describe the way you might have looked as a baby. Compare these verbal descriptions to one of your baby photos you show next. For animals, show your students a picture of an adult frog and ask them to guess the way a baby frog looks. Bring out a poster of the life cycle of the frog for comparison. Browse the Internet for pictures of animals and their babies to print. Mix up these pictures and challenge the children to match the parents and the baby animals.