Cover image for The day the babies crawled away
Title:
The day the babies crawled away
Author:
Rathmann, Peggy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2003.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 30 cm
Summary:
A boy follows fives babies who crawl away from a picnic and saves the day by bringing them back.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.5 0.5 74624.

Reading Counts RC K-2 1.8 1 Quiz: 34906 Guided reading level: J.
ISBN:
9780399231964
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

What a lovely day at the fair. Children lining up for pony rides . . . moms and dads in a pie-eating contest . . . babies chasing butterflies . . . babies heading for the trees . . . I SAY! Where are those babies GOING? Only a small boy sees them leaving and follows as the babies chase butterflies in trees, frogs in a bog, even bats in a cave, ignoring pleas to come back. But not to worry, our hero saves the day, making sure that all the babies get home safely from their appealing adventures.

Caldecott Medal winner Peggy Rathmann has created a highly original story told in a lilting text and a bold new style with classic black silhouettes against stunning skies of many colors that change and glow as afternoon turns into evening.


Author Notes

Caldecott-medalist Peggy Rathmann was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and grew up in the suburbs with two brothers and two sisters.

"In the summer we lolled in plastic wading pools guzzling Kool-Aid. In the winter we sculpted giant snow animals. It was a good life."

Ms. Rathmann graduated from Mounds View High School in New Brighton, Minnesota, then attended colleges everywhere, changing her major repeatedly. She eventually earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Minnesota.

"I wanted to teach sign language to gorillas, but after taking a class in signing, I realized what I''d rather do was draw pictures of gorillas."

Ms. Rathmann studied commercial art at the American Academy in Chicago, fine art at the Atelier Lack in Minneapolis, and children''s-book writing and illustration at the Otis Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles.

"I spent the first three weeks of my writing class at Otis Parsons filching characters from my classmates'' stories. Finally, the teacher convinced me that even a beginning writer can create an original character if the character is driven by the writer''s most secret weirdness. Eureka! A little girl with a passion for plagiarism! I didn''t want anyone to know it was me, so I made the character look like my sister."

The resulting book, Ruby the Copycat , earned Ms. Rathmann the "Most Promising New Author" distinction in Publishers Weekly ''s 1991 annual Cuffie Awards. In 1992 she illustrated Bootsie Barker Bites for Barbara Bottner, her teacher at Otis Parsons.

A homework assignment produced an almost wordless story, Good Night, Gorilla , inspired by a childhood memory.

"When I was little, the highlight of the summer was running barefoot through the grass, in the dark, screaming. We played kick-the-can, and three-times-around-the-house, and sometimes we just stood staring into other people''s picture windows, wondering what it would be like to go home to someone else''s house."

That story, however, was only nineteen pages long, and everyone agreed that the ending was a dud. Two years and ten endings later, Good Night, Gorilla was published and recognized as an ALA Notable Children''s Book for 1994.

The recipient of the 1996 Caldecott Medal, Officer Buckle and Gloria , is the story of a school safety officer upstaged by his canine partner.

"We have a videotape of my mother chatting in the dining room while, unnoticed by her or the cameraman, the dog is licking every poached egg on the buffet. The next scene shows the whole family at the breakfast table, complimenting my mother on the delicious poached eggs. The dog, of course, is pretending not to know what a poached egg is. The first time we watched that tape we were so shocked, we couldn''t stop laughing. I suspect that videotape had a big influence on my choice of subject matter."

Ms. Rathmann lives and works in San Francisco, in an apartment she shares with her husband, John Wick, and a very funny bunch of ants.

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.
Caldecott-medalist Peggy Rathmann was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and grew up in the suburbs with two brothers and two sisters.

"In the summer we lolled in plastic wading pools guzzling Kool-Aid. In the winter we sculpted giant snow animals. It was a good life."

Ms. Rathmann graduated from Mounds View High School in New Brighton, Minnesota, then attended colleges everywhere, changing her major repeatedly. She eventually earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Minnesota.

"I wanted to teach sign language to gorillas, but after taking a class in signing, I realized what I''d rather do was draw pictures of gorillas."

Ms. Rathmann studied commercial art at the American Academy in Chicago, fine art at the Atelier Lack in Minneapolis, and children''s-book writing and illustration at the Otis Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles.

"I spent the first three weeks of my writing class at Otis Parsons filching characters from my classmates'' stories. Finally, the teacher convinced me that even a beginning writer can create an original character if the character is driven by the writer''s most secret weirdness. Eureka! A little girl with a passion for plagiarism! I didn''t want anyone to know it was me, so I made the character look like my sister."

The resulting book, Ruby the Copycat , earned Ms. Rathmann the "Most Promising New Author" distinction in Publishers Weekly ''s 1991 annual Cuffie Awards. In 1992 she illustrated Bootsie Barker Bites for Barbara Bottner, her teacher at Otis Parsons.

A homework assignment produced an almost wordless story, Good Night, Gorilla , inspired by a childhood memory.

"When I was little, the highlight of the summer was running barefoot through the grass, in the dark, screaming. We played kick-the-can, and three-times-around-the-house, and sometimes we just stood staring into other people''s picture windows, wondering what it would be like to go home to someone else''s house."

That story, however, was only nineteen pages long, and everyone agreed that the ending was a dud. Two years and ten endings later, Good Night, Gorilla was published and recognized as an ALA Notable Children''s Book for 1994.

The recipient of the 1996 Caldecott Medal, Officer Buckle and Gloria , is the story of a school safety officer upstaged by his canine partner.

"We have a videotape of my mother chatting in the dining room while, unnoticed by her or the cameraman, the dog is licking every poached egg on the buffet. The next scene shows the whole family at the breakfast table, complimenting my mother on the delicious poached eggs. The dog, of course, is pretending not to know what a poached egg is. The first time we watched that tape we were so shocked, we couldn''t stop laughing. I suspect that videotape had a big influence on my choice of subject matter."

Ms. Rathmann lives and works in San Francisco, in an apartment she shares with her husband, John Wick, and a very funny bunch of ants.

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

PreS-Gr. 1. Caldecott Medal-winner Rathman tries something different here, but she isn't altogether successful. The exuberant text is directed to a young boy with the rescuing sensibility of Holden Caufield, who catches wandering babies: Remember the way / You tried to save the day? / You hollered, HEY! / You babies, Stay! Alas, none of them do; instead they crawl off to chase bees and scramble onto a ledge. The fun is in the oversize pictures with silhouette images set against gloriously colored, subtly shaded backgrounds. These illustrations, reminiscent of the art in Jan Pienkowski's books about Christmas and Easter, may be difficult for little children to absorb. Not only must kids read details into the flat, black silhouettes, but they will also find that some objects are so small they are hard to discern. In addition, though the text is peppy, it can be difficult to read aloud. Is the book worth buying? Yes. The conceit is clever, the artwork is creative and lovely, and children with patience and imagination will find a bit more to see than they might find in a book with conventional art. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2003 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Rathmann (Officer Buckle and Gloria) makes an innovative departure from her usual prose and pictures in this rollicking rhyming tale, illustrated in needle-sharp, atmospheric silhouettes against twilight skies. The initial spreads picture a lively neighborhood picnic and pie-eating contest with fluttering banners and an all-ages crowd. In voiceover, a parent reminisces about how "you" represented here as a boy in a firefighter's helmet had to "save the day ... When the babies crawled away!" The speaker admits she was caught off-guard: "We moms and dads were eating pies, The babies saw some butterflies And what do you know? Surprise! Surprise! The babies crawled away!" The adults do not witness their five babies' escape. But the alert boy notices, vainly tugs at his mother's shirt, then chases the runaways into a thicket: "You hollered, `Hey! You babies, stay!' But none of them did. And some of them hid." The babies' shadowy figures never seem endangered; they blend with the tangled shapes of the branches, creating a hide-and-seek puzzle for their pursuer and for readers. Yet the boy senses their peril and consistently comes to the rescue. Rathmann's signature palette of zingy pink, lemon yellow and robin's egg blue deepen to sunset colors that imply time is tight; the flattened foreground includes a hillside with every blade of grass in stark relief, and the cavorting shapes of the children. Rathmann's poem never misses a beat, and her triumphant finale does not pass judgment on the parents; instead she praises the sleepy, baby-wrangling hero. Ages 2-6. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-While the grown-ups are immersed in pie eating and other outdoor carnival festivities, their babies crawl away. The only one to observe this phenomenon is a toddler in a fireman's hat who follows them and saves them from such disasters as bat caves, cliff-hanging, and hunger, along the way shouting very responsible warnings and imprecations to "behave." When he brings them safely home, he is, of course, a hero. In the penultimate spread, it transpires that the tale is the boy's fantasy story retold by his loving mother just before he falls asleep. The babies and their adventures are rendered in stunning, sharply detailed, Pienkowski-like silhouette against a subtly changing backdrop that reflects the time of day. The boy's fireman's hat makes him easy to follow on each spread and also conveys his gallant status. This book has levels of complexity. Adults may be put off by the seeming parental neglect, but children will doubtless latch on to and enjoy the fact that the hero is a child, that none of the escapees seems in any real jeopardy, that the softly glowing pastel backgrounds lend a mood of unruffled calm, and that the story is, after all, fanciful. The verse doesn't always scan and occasionally does not rhyme, but oh those beguiling babies-they're irresistible!-Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.