Kid Lit Dish

Kim's Magical Journey Into the World of Children's Picture Books

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

on October 5, 2012

I’m late!  I’m late!  For a VERY important date!

It’s my favorite day of the week– Perfect Picture Book Friday, where I get to review my pick for the week.  Once again, I’m tardy because it’s been a manic week… what with a copywriting assignment, some good networking and fellowship events, and tons of school activities… oh, and plus tennis, which has once again been taking up a lot of my time.  Boo!  (Well, it’s only “boo!” when I lose.  If I win, tennis is the Best. Sport. EVER!) 😉

So here’s my selection for this week, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes written by the legendary Mem Fox (and beautifully illustrated by Helen Oxenbury).  I was surprised that no one has reviewed this for PPBF before.  Yes, it’s simple and light with a grand total of 184 words.  But it’s charming and, I think, quite brilliant with its simple rhyme and soothing repetition.  It reminds me of the lullaby-like quality of Goodnight Moon (another favorite, of course!)  I didn’t discover it until after Ian was too old for such books, but had I known about it when he was a baby and toddler, I’m sure this would have been a bedtime favorite.  It’s gorgeous!

Here are the details:

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

Written by: Mem Fox
Illustrated by: Helen Oxenbury

Suitable for: Babies and toddlers (and even older children who love rhyming books and babies!)

Themes/Topics:  Simply put, this is a soothing book for little ones.  It’s essentially a book about babies… for babies.  The rhyme and rhythm and repetition make it great for bedtime.  However, on a secondary level, it can also be seen as a book about tolerance and multiculturalism… though this is understated.

Opening Lines: 

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

Synopsis:  There’s really no “story” here– it’s simply a global look at babies of all colors, shapes and sizes.  We (the reader) see the babies when they first come to this world, and ultimately we see them all interacting with each other playfully.  It seems to have an underlying message of “Let’s all get along.  After all, babies DO!”  This one has 42 five-star reviews on Amazon.  The phrasing is wonderful and the watercolor illustrations draw you in, “oohing” and “aahhing” at the adorable cherubs with their tiny fingers and toes.  For older children (read: toddlers), each page offers up an opportunity to learn to count.   Bottom line: If it isn’t hailed as one already, this one is destined to be a classic.

Resources: Mem Fox has an entire page of her web site devoted to this book– you can see it here.  She also reads the book aloud on YouTube.  I LOVE Mem Fox!  I want to grow up to BE her!

Why I Like This Book:   For the reasons stated above– brilliant, lyrical rhyme and sublime underlying message… wonderful watercolor illustrations showing babies with the most adorable expressions… and, of course, it’s by my hero(ine), Mem!   I’d highly recommend this as a gift for ALL new moms and dads.  I wish I had this around when Ian was a wee one.

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

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15 responses to “Perfect Picture Book Friday: Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

  1. This is such a gentle, lovely, loving book to share with little ones. And it’s so good to get the message across early and often that we’re all the same, no matter where we’re from. Great addition to PPBF!

  2. This is a beautiful story and theme. I popped across to Mem Fox’s website and listened to her sing the story. Very sweet! She is a lot of fun. I loved the illustrations, thanks for sharing Kim.

  3. I heart Mem Fox. She’s one of my all-time favorites.

  4. Darshana says:

    This book is delightful. I do love Mem Fox’s rhyme. Thanks.

  5. What a beautiful book! And you can’t go wrong with a team like Mem and Helen! I’m surprised this one hadn’t hit the list before too, but I’m glad you’ve added it. It’s a great one for youngest readers, and we don’t have tons in that area. Thanks so much for sharing, Kim!

  6. Love the opening. I will add this to my list!

  7. I love this book. Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury are favorites. Thanks for posting this.

  8. What a beautiful book and an engaging cover. Sounds like a book that shows how we are all connected. Love the message and the counting for young children. Never to early to talk about kids living all over the globe.

  9. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    How have I missed this one? We still love to count and rhyme at my house.

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Welcome to Design of the Picture Book! I'm Carter Higgins, and I'm a writer and librarian for kids. I spent a spectacular stint as the Children's Book Editor at <a href="http://www.designmom.com/">Design Mom</a> which I loved! You can find my column <a href="http://www.designmom.com/category/childrens-lit/">here</a>.<br /> I'm a K-6 librarian, a former-ish graphic designer, an SCBWI member, and a huge fan of words and pictures.<br /> Represented by <a href="http://www.rpcontent.com/">Rubin Pfeffer of Rubin Pfeffer Content, LLC</a>.

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