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Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

by Mem Fox and Helen OxenburyHarcourt Children's Books; $16; ages 2-5

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Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury are towering talents in the world of children's books, and when they come together, you know the result is going to be spectacular. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes (Harcourt Children's Books; $16; ages 2-5) is a delightful, understated celebration of diversity--and babies!--that already reads like a classic. It's not an adoption storybook, but a simple and reassuring tale that every parent and child can see themselves in.

"There was one little baby / who was born far away. / And another who was born / on the very next day," begins this sweet picture book, continuing with the refrain that repeats throughout the story: "And both of these babies, / as everyone knows, / had ten little fingers / and ten little toes." As Fox introduces each new pair of babies, they join the ones we've already met, and frolic through the pages in an ever-growing group. And, at the end, we meet a "sweet little child who was mine, all mine."

Oxenbury's illustrations of chubby babies from every corner of the world--and each one's plump fingers and toes--are simply enchanting. Toddlers through preschoolers will be swept up by the gentle rhymes; Fox's lyrical text is made for reading aloud, to your child at bedtime, or to a whole group at daycare. If only the book's cover weren't white--this is one treasure your wee one's 10 little fingers will reach for again and again.

Reviewed by Eve Gilman, the managing editor of Adoptive Families.

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