Perhaps the only thing cuter than a chipmunk is a baby chipmunk. Kathy M. Miller’s Chippy Chipmunk: Babies in the Garden proves that assumption. After proud Papa Chippy waits one cycle of the moon for his babies to be born and another six weeks as they grow in their burrow, he delights when his four youngsters finally emerge in the garden. Named for conservationists, a naturalist president, and one of the country’s Founding Fathers, Rachel, Rosalie, Roosevelt, and Benjamin gaze at their new world with wonder and curiosity.
What makes this picture book appealing for both children and adults are Miller’s eighty-four full-color photographs of animals in action. As the baby chipmunks explore their garden surroundings, they discover that berries and flowers taste delicious—but dirt does not. As they also learn that birds and bunnies are their friends, an old red squirrel warns them of such predators as eagles, owls, and snakes, as well as resident Chester the Cat when he sneaks outside.
When their mother reminds them that they have instincts that warn them about danger and that she’ll teach them how to survive, the active babies continue their frolicking and games. Adorable photographs show the chipmunks playing tag, leapfrog, follow-the-leader, and even hide-and-seek. After one of the babies notices Chester watching their every move from a window, Mama Lily sounds an alarm and Chippy strikes a defensive stance to protect his young. Luckily, Chester’s door is locked, and the relieved chipmunks can’t help but cheer, “Chip! Chip! Hooray!”
Author Kathy M. Miller is also an award-winning nature photographer whose photographs have appeared in Rescuing Wildlife: A Guide to Helping Injured and Orphaned Animals. This Chippy adventure follows her first book, Chippy Chipmunk Parties in the Garden, which won fifteen awards, including a Benjamin Franklin Award, Learning Magazine’s Teacher’s Choice Award, and a Mom’s Choice Award.
Children will have so much fun watching the chipmunks on the go that they won’t even realize that they are learning all about animal behavior. Endpapers provide even more interesting information. The opening pages introduce each baby chipmunk and the origin of their names, while the concluding pages offer such facts as: “At birth, baby chipmunks measure only 1 inch long.” Readers will hope that more adorable sequels are to come from this author.