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The Bog Baby Hardcover – October 13, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3—The narrator, now a mother herself, tells about an event in her childhood. She and her sister break a rule and get caught in a lie. It starts when they go fishing alone in the springtime bog and catch a bog baby. They want to share their love for their new pet with their mother, but they just can't tell her where they've been. Like budding cryptozoologists, they describe each part of the little round creature with wings "no bigger than daisy petals," and create for it a habitat, a bucket filled with shells, gravel, and water. The glorious illustrations reveal a lush dreamscape of a backyard flush with tendrils, bluebells, Queen Anne's lace, birch trees, cherry trees, dragonflies, ladybugs, and more, all delicately and minutely drawn, and painted in watercolors. The child-voiced, economical narrative transports readers into the squelches and squeaks of tromping through the mud and spring plants, and straight into heartbreak when the beloved bog baby gets sick and hides under shells. Luckily readers can venture vicariously into the twilight bog when the sisters return their pet to its natural environment, and again when the narrator's child, the next generation, joyfully discovers that their sacrifice resulted in the proliferation of this dubious species.—Sara Paulson-Yarovoy, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City END

Review

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2009:
"[This] happy-ending story asks readers to consider not only the importance of leaving wild things but the possibility of magic."

Review, School Library Journal, October 2009:
"Glorious illustrations."

Review, The New York Times Book Review, October 11, 2009:
"[A] charmingly conceived modern fable."

Review, Publishers Weekly, October 12, 2009:
"Willis...supplies numerous winsome details...ever-fresh in the narrator's mind, and Millward's...dreamy, doodly pen and ink spreads are similarly fragrant with nostalgia for childhood expeditions and the sheer magic of the outdoors."

Review, Grandparents.com, October 22, 2009:
"[Willis's] words are paired with some of the most beautiful illustrations in recent memory — there is a two-page spread of bluebells that will take your breath away."

Starred review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December 2009:
"A sweet story with a wide-eyed belief in possibility; it's sure to get kids nosing around the woods for their own fantastical finds."

Review, Scholastic Parent & Child, December 2009:
"Gwen Millward’s whimsical watercolors add to the charm."
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade; First Edition edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375861769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375861765
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 0.4 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Deb HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A little girl told her mother that she and her friend Chrissy were going over to their friend Annie's house for the day. They never really intended to go there and instead they went fishing in "a magic pond in Bluebell Wood." They were never, ever supposed to go fishing alone, but the dell just called to them. The crossed the footbridge near the big birch trees and sat close together and started fishing. They were trying to catch a newt, but instead they "caught something much better . . . a Bog Baby!" He was a funny looking critter about the "size of a frog, only round and blue.

He had "boggly eyes and a spiky tail." He was floating on his back sucking on his toes. She leaned down and plucked him out of the water. He was soft and cuddly and would make a great pet so they "took him home and hid him in the shed." He was a special Bog Baby. They loved and cuddled him and even took him to school, but she didn't dare tell her mother because they were supposed to go to Annie's. They made a home for him in a bucket and "fed him cake crumbs" and loved him, but one day he became sick. Mom found them all hiding in the shed . . . what was going to happen to their Bog Baby when she spotted him?

This is an adorable little story that most country parents can relate to. There always manages to be a bucket or an old aquarium that is filled with some creature that should have been left in the wild. I loved the way the author gently caught the conversation and the spirit of the little girls who did something wrong and knew it, but also didn't understand that keeping a wild creature was not. I enjoyed the artwork thought and the Bog Baby was very precious and unique. There is a page in the back for notes about any Bog Baby your youngster might come across and an address to send drawings. The company would like to know things like, "Does he croak, purr or tweet?" I'd like to know too!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Bog Baby is a terrific book for preschoolers and early elementary students. It is a wonderful story about finding something, loving it, and ultimately setting it free because it is the best thing to do. I really love the message of this story and the illustrations are beautiful. I have recommended The Bog Baby to many of my friends with preschoolers and they all love it.
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Format: Hardcover
A delightful, sweet, and timeless story!
Not only does "The Bog Baby" have a wonderful message about believing in something, but it also has a wonderful message about "leaving wild things in the wild."
Yes, the "if you love it set it free" plot is nothing new, but I loved the approach Willis takes here.

In this story two little girls go fishing (even though their not supposed to go alone, which the book does make a point of noting is was not a good thing for them to do - definitely reminded me of those few times in childhood where you really knew you *shouldn't* do something but for whatever reason you did anyway...) but the two girls find a Bog Baby and decide to take it home and care for it. Of course, everything seems okay at first, but when the Bog Baby starts getting sick the girls have to decide what to do.

I love the illustrations and the author's note in the back, and I was happy that the Bog Baby did seem to love the little girls in return.

This is definitely a little bittersweet, so very sensitive readers/listeners might have a hard time with it, but I do think it's a good book for introducing these messages.
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Format: Hardcover
Kiwi Magazine Review:
Bog babies do exist. They really do. If you've never seen one, you probably had a similar experience when you captured that baby toad or frog and thought you could be best friends forever. But toads, frogs and bog babies don't belong in pickle jars or pockets. This story really sends a fanciful yet practical message about all of the wonderful creatures who hop, run, skip and fly nearby and that's exactly how it should remain; let the bog babies stay where they belong as we observe their magic.
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Format: Hardcover
What a fabulous story to help teach kids that wild things are best not kept as pets. I think kids will relate to the girls defying what their mom told them to do but being able to go to her for help in the end. Great illustrations, story and message.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is so beautiful, both in story and illustrations. It stays in our permanent collection, even though our children are all older now.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is sweet, unusual, and moving. The lesson is that wild things should remain wild, and not love in captivity on leashes, etc. However, this book is in no way preachy: it sends it message in a very engaging and thoughtful way that is entirely appropriate for children as young as three (the age of my child). I am grateful to have found this book and its author.
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