Fran Hodgkin’s book, If You Were My Baby: A Wildlife Lullaby, shows the life-giving bond between mothers and babies, regardless of their species. A duck and her ducklings, a mountain goat and her kid, a bison and her calf, as well as a human mother and her baby – all are tenderly guiding their young in ways associated with their own animal kind.
There are many books about love on the market, but they either fictionalize the bond through talking animals, or focus solely on humans. If You Were My Baby highlights the real relationship in lullaby-like poetic form, as the adult animals fulfill their parental roles in a factual way.
“People ask me if this is fiction or non-fiction,” Fran often says. “I call it ‘creative non-fiction,’ because the facts are there but they don’t hit you over the head. So often, non-fiction is seen as boring. Yet children love books that portray real life. The challenge for the writer is to be a little more creative. Just make sure you have your facts straight.”
The book grew out of a lifetime love of wild creatures. Fran says that her mother taught her “how to watch and how to really see” the squirrels, jays, sparrows, bugs, worms… “One of my earliest memories involves watching a garden spider build a web in my tire swing. I seem to remember staying put for hours just to see what would happen as the spider worked.”
Now as a mother herself, Fran passed her love of “Watching and seeing” animals on to her daughter Rosie. “Rosie inspired the book through her questions about nature and animals,” Fran says, so in a meaningful way, If You Were My Baby is the product of three generations of women nature lovers.