Reviews /

Mama Mammals: Reproduction and Birth in Mammals

Authored by Cathy Evans
Illustrated by Bia Melo
Published by Cicada Books


Mama Mammals is a sumptuous information book which explains how mammals make babies and look after them. The opening spread defines mammals and gives examples as well as the things they have in common. Then it moves on to mating behaviour, which comes in a wide variety from vocal and visual displays to battles to assert dominance. Next are two spreads on fertilisation, which provide a clear introduction to a sometimes difficult subject including multiple fertilisations for humans and other mammals. Gestation is covered right through to birth, raising newborns, breastfeeding, and the different amounts of time that a little one is cared for by their parents or community.

There is a great deal of information contained in this book but it is all presented clearly and with examples which make complex concepts easier to understand. Academic vocabulary is introduced, again in a way that support understanding of the concepts. I found it fascinating to read about altricial and precocial newborns which refers to how developed mammals are at birth. When looking for information books I like to find out about the author’s background because I strongly believe that the best information books are written by those who have a passion for their subject. Cathy Evans is a vet and her knowledge and interest in mammals really shines through. Bia Melo’s illustrations lend a childlike quality and appeal to the book.

Mama Mammals is a highly accessible and enjoyable information book which I would recommend for Key Stage 2 children in school. This is a title that I would recommend reading before sharing to ensure the content (particularly the sections on mating and fertilisation) are appropriate for their own setting.

Longlisted for the 2024 Information Book Award Age