I Was Born a Baby

by Meg Fleming (Author) Brandon James Scott (Illustrator)

I Was Born a Baby
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

Don't miss this irresistible read-aloud in the vein of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom--with catchy rhymes and bold, silly art about baby animals and the names they share!

I was born a baby and grew into a kid...

Soon all the other baby animals can't help but share what they are called and what they grew up into! Readers will learn about owlettes, pufflings, and more. But when the chick, calf, cub, and pup realize they share their names with several other species, they can't believe it. "No way! No how! That can't be true!" becomes a catchy, energetic refrain readers will love chanting.

The text invites readers to predict what the baby animal is by using context clues and checking the endpapers to see if they guessed right.

The strong rhythm and unexpected discoveries of the baby animal kingdom, plus deadpan humor and wonderfully expressive art, will spark a conversation about names and nature and leave readers wanting to read it aloud again and again.

Publishers Weekly

Pups, calves, chicks, cubs, and other young announce themselves to comedic effect in this polished picture book, which tugs at the seeming illogic of nomenclature. Starting with a human child with dark brown skin, different youths present themselves ("I was born a baby./ I was born a colt.// I was born a piglet./ I'm a billy goat"), but a challenge arises when some discover they share a name. After a dog claims to be a pup, for example, a seal pipes up ("No way, no how!/ That can't be true!") as do a bat, beaver, and shark ("I'm a pup!/ I'm a pup!// I'm a pup, too!"). Though an end page might be read as comparing skin color and species, Scott's digitally rendered critters are wide-eyed and full of personality, and scenes vividly capture the absurdity afoot, echoing Fleming's rhythmic prose, which emphasizes the silliness of language and introduces vocabulary-building terms, such as hoglet and puggle. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

K-Gr 2--Adorable, simplified illustrations of wide-eyed baby animals appear in colorful scenes alongside their formal diminutives: "calves" for young giraffes, whales, and hippos; "chicks" for different kinds of birds. In a funny first-person narration, and along with a surprised-looking Black child, the animals tell readers what they are: "I was born a baby." "I was born a colt." "I was born a piglet." "I was born a billy goat." In briskly rhythmic text, Fleming then expounds on the life cycle of a few creatures, e.g., tadpole, to froglet, to toadlet. In another case, the conversation is about all the "kids" who aren't actually human. It's a lighthearted look at naming and categorization, and not intended to be comprehensive; the emphasis is on babies, erratic naming conventions, and the joy of being young. VERDICT Other volumes take this topic on, but for educators seeking a breezy approach, this is a nice addition to the shelves.--Amanda Chacon

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Meg Fleming
Meg Fleming is the author of Sometimes Rain, I Heart You, Here Comes Ocean!, Sounds Like School Spirit, and Wondering Around. A former voice teacher, Meg draws on her love of rhythm, rhyme, and lyricism to create and imagine stories. She lives outside of San Francisco with her husband and three kids. Visit her at MegFleming.net.

Richard Jones grew up in Leamington Spa before moving down to Devon to study illustration at the University of Plymouth in Exeter. After finishing his degree, he stayed on to complete a PhD. He worked in a busy children's library for many years, before swapping shelving picture books for making them! Richard has illustrated more than twenty books for children, including The Snow Lion by Jim Helmore and his own Perdu and Little Bear. When he's not at his desk, he enjoys exploring the glorious countryside and beaches around his home.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
April 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JNF051150 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Zoology
JNF028000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Humor | General
JNF003330 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Animals | Baby Animals
Library of Congress categories
Picture books

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!