If My Mom Were a Platypus
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More About This Title If My Mom Were a Platypus


The animal kingdom offers a special fascination for children because so many of the cozy rituals they share at home are echoed in nature. All mammal mothers feed, protect, and teach their young—tasks that often challenge their own needs for survival. With beautiful illustrations and inventive text, this fascinating introduction reveals how fourteen mammals babies travel the path from helpless infant to self-sufficient adults.


Dia L. Michels is an award-winning science and parenting writer who has authored or edited over a dozen books for both children and adults. While her topics include science and math books for middle grade students, her passion is promoting attachment parenting and supporting breastfeeding. A popular speaker, she lectures frequently at conferences, universities, libraries, and schools around the country. The mother of three grown children, she lives in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C., with three cats and a dog. She can be reached at [email protected]


"These animal stories help show new moms that breastfeeding is what nature intended. When you find out that there isn't a mammal alive in the wild who doesn't put their baby to breast and keep her there for a while, it is a powerful message about the normalcy of breastfeeding. Our hope is that when moms read these stories to their children, the beauty and simplicity of breastfeeding will resonate for them at a deep level."
—Sharon Giles-Pullen, New Mexico Department of Health's Breastfeeding Promotion Manager

“The cycle of life goes from conception to pregnancy to birth to lactation to maturity to death. The universality of the life cycle is beautifully captured in this stunning book. … Seeing the lifecycle as a natural process helps children understand how important lactation is to the health, growth and survival of all mammals.”
—Ruth Lawrence, MD, Author, Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession, University of Rochester Medical School, Rochester, NY

“Narrated by 14 mammal babies, this book describes how each baby mammal progresses from infancy to adulthood. It explains that mammal babies are different from most other animals, in that they need their mother in order to learn how to survive on their own. Having recently become a first-time mother, I also really liked the fact that the chapter on baby humans presented childbirth and breastfeeding in a natural, positive manner. An educational and thoroughly enjoyable book!”
—Shelley Spohr, Office of Natural Resources, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Mashantucket, CT. Published in Science Books & Films, Vol. 42, No. 2, Pg 86.

“I help bring more than 200 human animal babies into this world each year. Each one of them is a small miracle. If My Mom Were A Platypus brings to life the birth stories of human beings, as well as those of thirteen other mammals—some similar in nature to humans, others, strikingly different. It is a wonderful exploration into the process of birth and the challenges of maturation!”
—David Downing, MD, Director of Residency, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC

“Completely engrossing! Most readers are sure to be surprised by something they learn about these seemingly familiar animals... A wonderful gift book for expectant parents or families with children."
—Carolyn Baily, Foreward Magazine

“If My Mom Were A Platypus is an entrancing children’s book covering all sorts of animal babies—platypus, koala, lion, orangutan, whale, shrew and more. The beautifully-illustrated text pulls in children by pretending they are the baby. If My Mom Were A Platypus describes in detail how different babies eat, learn, grow and mature. This fact-loaded book delights both adults and children and is extraordinarily hard to put down. Even the ending is superb. Includes glossary and index and highlights endangered or threatened species. Activity guides are available at PlatypusMedia.com. Perfect for school or home use. Ages 4-adult.”
—Dr. Kathleen Kain, Science Educator, Science Spiders Newsletter

“I am blown away by this book! This is one of the most engaging nonfiction books I have ever read. It correlates so well with our science curriculum and the Common Core State Standards. The Activity Guide and Hands-On Demonstrations are so teacher friendly. I cannot say enough positive things about this material!”
—Sonya Smith, Science Coordinator, ATOMS2XP (Advancing Teachers of Middle School Science) and IMPACT2 (In-depth Mathematical Practices and Content Teacher Training), Miss. State, MS

“If My Mom Were A Platypus fits perfectly into our 5th grade Animals curriculum. The students greeted the book like eager beavers – devouring each chapter and delving right into the next one. In class after class, they read beyond the required reading, propelled by excitement over what they were learning. The Activity Guide is chock-full of ways to explore the text, but the book is so full of fascinating facts, I was hardly wanting for ideas. What the kids really loved was writing up quiz questions they learned from the book, then testing each other on their newfound knowledge. This book is a natural for elementary and middle school science classes!”
—Catherine Taylor, 5th Gr. Science Teacher, Stuart Hobson Museum Magnet MS, Washington, DC

“If My Mom Were A Platypus is enjoyable, accurate and informative. It will be useful, indeed, in primary and middle school curricula. I know how difficult—but essential— it is to have all of the facts right, yet still be interesting and readable. This book manages both very well. I hope that it ends up in many, many schools!”
—Don E. Wilson, Ph.D., Editor, Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife

"To get ready for her babies, a platypus builds a nest beside a stream. A polar bear tunnels into the snow to build a snow cave. In this engrossing book, kids learn about how 14 different mammals — from koalas to hooded seals, and yes, even humans — experience the beginning of life: when they open their eyes, how big they are when they’re born, how their moms feed them, how they learn to feed themselves, and more. It’s a terrific way for kids to learn the characteristics of mammals in a way they’ll remember. Perfect for: Animal lovers."

Exhibited At: International book fairs