Great Illustrated Books

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

By Mem Fox, Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Harcourt Children, 2008
Pages : 40
Suggested Ages: 0-5
ISBN: 9781406331264

"There was one little baby who was born far away. And another who was born on the very next day. And both of those babies, as everyone knows, had ten little fingers and ten little toes." In a rhyming tribute to babies across the globe, interspersed with the title's joyous chantable refrain, a multicultural mix of nine winsome babies laugh and play together. The final baby in the mix is cuddled by a brown-haired mother who delivers "three little kisses on the tip of its nose." Sweet, soft watercolors and the gentle rhyme and repetition of this story have a timelessness, like a classic nursery rhyme we've recited to babies forever while we count and tickle their fingers and toes, and are a cunning companion for "This Little Piggy Went to Market."

This one's going to be a family favorite to read to babies; one would hope the board book version won't be far behind. Don't miss Mem Fox's fine website, which explains how and when and why to read aloud to children, with audio examples:

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If you love this book, then try:

Ashman, Linda. Babies On the Go. Harcourt, 2003.

Brown, Margaret Wise. Goodnight Moon. HarperCollins, 1947.

Dewdney, Anna. Llama Llama Red Pajama. Viking, 2005.

Frazee, Marla. Hush, Little Baby. Harcourt, 1999.

Harris, Robie H. Hi New Baby! Candlewick Press, 2000.

Ho, Minfong. Hush! A Thai Lullaby. Orchard, 1996.

McMullan, Kate. Rock-a-Baby Band. Little, Brown, 2003.

Nye, Naomi Shihab. Baby Radar. Greenwillow, 2003.

Ormerod, Jan. 101 Things to Do with a Baby. Lothrop, 1984.

Patricelli, Leslie. Baby Happy Baby Sad. Candlewick, 2008.

Paxton, Tom. Where's the Baby? Morrow, 1993.

Root, Phyllis. What Baby Wants. Candlewick, 1998.

Schwartz, Amy. A Teeny Tiny Baby. Orchard, 1994.

Sturges, Philemon. How Do You Make a Baby Smile? HarperCollins, 2007.

Van Leeuwen, Jean. Benny & Beautiful Baby Delilah. Dial, 2006.

Critics have said

Little readers will take to the repetition and counting, while parents will be moved by the last spread: a sweet depiction of mother and baby.


Blonde top-knots, springy black curls, haystack red straw and sleek black hair surround smiling, frowning, sneezing or contemplative baby faces. Anyone who has ever tweaked a little piggy will quickly start chanting the infectious refrain from this ''digital'' romp.
Washington Post Book World