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Babies by Gyo Fujikawa Children's Book Review

Updated on March 14, 2011
Babies by Gyo Fujikawa book cover.
Babies by Gyo Fujikawa book cover.

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Babies by Gyo Fujikawa (ISBN-10: 0448030845, 1963) is a simple, yet elegant early board book that should grace every young child's shelf. Set firmly in the arena of children's classics, this book shows the joy and wonder of life with a baby.

Without pretense, author and illustrator Gyo Fujikawa shows babies of every kind being held, snuggled, toddling, and playing. This book makes a wonderful introduction to the topic of a new sibling, and masterfully captures the simple yet wondrous miracle of babyhood.

It is clear that Fujikawa knows here subject! She depicts babies from infancy through toddlerhood, in the tender stage when they are so easy to hold that they look like a baby doll, through their infancy of sleeping and crying and sleeping some more, to their curious and indefatiguable toddlerhood.

Babies offers a delightful introduction to a potential older sibling without exploring the medical questions of how the baby came into being or why mommy's tummy is so big. Those are matters for another book. Because Babies merely explores what babies are like at a very simple level, this book will be suitable for very young toddlers. Most children under the age of 5 aren't ready to ask how the baby was made. They just want to know what the baby will be like, and how life for them will change with a baby around the house. Gyo Fujikawa beautifully introduces the wonder that a baby can bring into any loving home.

Fujikawa's illustrations are fanciful depictions of babies of every culture and ethnicity laughing and playing together in harmony. Her illustrations are beautiful and in the manner of illustrations produced in the 1960s, use muted colors that draw heavily from earth tones. Rather than depicting life with realism, she uses humor and natural images such as plants and animals to show babies in a sort of joyous heaven on earth, Fujikawa's illustrations are busy, active, and full of movement.

This page from the Babies board book depicts babies coexisting in a joyous heaven on earth.
This page from the Babies board book depicts babies coexisting in a joyous heaven on earth.
Oh What a Busy Day! by Gyo Fujikawa book cover
Oh What a Busy Day! by Gyo Fujikawa book cover

Artist and Author Gyo Fujikawa

Gyo Fujikawa was born in 1908 and passed away in 1998. Her work is highly prized and has sold at auction for as much as $75,000. She published over 50 books during her lifetime and illustrated others. Her books Babies and Baby Animals are her most popular and continue to be reprinted in languages other than English.

Fujikawa was euologized in the New York Times for her significant social and artistic accomplishments when she passed away in 1998.

A Classic Children's Book

Since it was published over 40 years ago, Babies is one of those children's books that has grown up with multiple generations. Many of my friends and acquaintances have remarked to me that this particular storybook had a meaningful influence on their lives.

One friend, a child psychologist who happened to see it in my bookbag in the car, squealed with delight when she saw that I had it. "I LOVE that book!" she said with great feeling. With its classic and unchanging message that babies are a wonderful, this easy to love toddler book will continue to have a place on many family bookshelves for years to come.

Other Books by Gyo Fujikawa

  • Ten Little Babies: Recently published, this rhyming book counts backward from 10 to 1, and features the cherubic round babies that also appear in the Babies board book.
  • A Children's Book of Poems: This book is a collection of poems by famous poets and classic authors, and was illustrated by Fujikawa. I like this book because if features poems I read in my college English Literature courses, like poems by Christina Rosetti.
  • Baby Animals is an early toddler board book that features baby animals depicted in a friendly, if not too realistic style.
  • Oh What a Busy Day is my favorite Gyo Fujikawa book. It is geared toward preschool and early elementary age children, and has the busy quality of many of Richard Scarry's books, but retains Fujikawa's signature illustration style. This book could be considered a precursor to the Where's Waldo book series, and offers lot's of lap-sitting search and find fun.

Oh what a busy day for a baby!

My baby looked so much like one of the cute babies in Gyo Fujikawa's storybook by that name that I just had to include it here.
My baby looked so much like one of the cute babies in Gyo Fujikawa's storybook by that name that I just had to include it here. | Source

More Recommended Children's Books

Please feel to explore some of my favorite children's book recommendations listed here!

Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing by Judi Barrett · A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams · Babies by Gyo Fujikawa · Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See by Bill Martin and Eric Carle · Charley Harper's ABCs by Charlie Harper · Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons · Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes · Daughter of a King by Rachel Ann Nunes · Excuse Me! By Lisa Kopelke · Gregory the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat · Harry and The Terrible Whatzit by Dick Gackenbach · Hilda Must Be Dancing by Karma Wilson · I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll · I'd Choose You by John Trent · Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback · King of Kings by Susan Hill · Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis and David Soman · Lily's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes · Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney · Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney · Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle · No David! by David Shannon · Olivia by Ian Falconer · Out of the Ocean by Debra Frasier · Snowballs by Lois Ehlert · So Much by Trish Cooke and Helen Oxenbury · Souperchicken by Mary Jane and Herm Auch · The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone · The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle · The King With Six Friends by Jay Williams · The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah by Leslie Kimmelman · The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Sturges · The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell · The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy · The Red Shoes a Fairy Tale by Gloria Fowler and Sun Young Yoo · The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats · Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel · Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White · Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak · Yoon and the Christmas Mitten by Helen Recorvits

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