Dear Little One (Nina Laden & Melissa Castrillon)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Dear Little One by Nina Laden and Melissa Castrillon, a gorgeous ode to the beauty of the natural world.

Taking the form of a letter, the narration opens with the titular salutation, greeting both the reader and the unnamed child protagonist, who is poking a finger into a rippling body of water. The lyrical text follows as the child explores a series of natural environments with their canine companion, encouraging them to appreciate and marvel at the beauty of nature and the myriad life that fills it – animals, insects, plants, seas, mountains, and more. The author of the letter charges their “little one” to be a steward of the Earth, to preserve it, and to care for it as the Earth cares for them, before signing off – “Love, Mother Nature.”

Gorgeous. Those who are fans of Laden and Castrillon’s previous collaborations, If I Had A Little Dream and Yellow Kayak, will be delighted to find another beautifully written and breathtaking illustrated adventure in this title. The conservationist message isn’t necessarily subtle, but the text conveys it in an imploringly heartfelt tone that never feels preachy, but rather empowering and inspiring. The spellbinding, dreamlike illustrations are simply stunning, blending a palate of cool greens and purples with fiery oranges and reds that is all at once soothing and invigorating. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ loved the intricate art and calming tone of the text. A beautiful way to encourage children to explore and revere the natural world, and we loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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