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What to Expect When You're Expecting Joeys: A Guide for Marsupial Parents (and Curious Kids)    by Bridget Heos & Stephane Jorisch order for
What to Expect When You're Expecting Joeys
by Bridget Heos
Order:  USA  Can
Millbrook Press, 2011 (2011)
* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

In this book written as advice for marsupial parents, Bridget Heos begins by telling marsupials how they differ from other mammals. She describes what they should expect when their babies are born. Newborn marsupial babies are called pinkies. Later they are called joeys. Pinkies are furless little creatures who still have a lot of growing to do before they leave the protection of their mother. Even the largest marsupial, the kangaroo, gives birth to pinkies only the size of a jelly bean.

Most often the babies ride in pouches or pockets provided on the mother's body. These pouches are different on each type of marsupial. The kangaroo or wallaby pouch is open so the mother can look down and see her baby. Other marsupials have pouches that open toward the mother's rear. That way it won't fill with dirt when she digs. Still others open in the middle of the pouch, looking like a giant belly button.

Not all marsupials have pouches. Some keep their babies on their belly, holding them close by tightening special stomach muscles.

Even though they are tiny, pinkies must make their own way to the pouches that will be their home until they're ready to leave their mother. Pinkies with mothers who have downward facing poaches have a shorter path to their pouch than those facing upwards like the kangaroo.

Even if you are a marsupial lover (and who isn't?), you'll find this clever book is full of interesting facts you might not have known. For example, did you know that if the mother kangaroo becomes pregnant while she's still carrying a joey in her pouch, the joey inside her body stops growing until the joey inside the pouch leaves his mother? Then the baby begins growing again.

Heos makes learning about marsupials fun by writing to the marsupial parents themselves. Stepane Jorisch's illustrations provide additional humor.

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