Wildfire! (Ashley Wolff)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Wildfire! by Ashley Wolff, a fascinating look at two sides of a forest fire – the animals escaping it and the humans working to contain it.

A lightning storm strikes in the early morning hours of a dense mountain forest, leaving a spark that causes Jay to chirp out an alert: “FireFireFire in the forest!”. As various animals seek shelter, protect themselves from, and cry warnings of the advancing flames, a team of dedicated humans – from fire lookouts to pilots to smokejumpers – spring into action to contain the fire as quickly as possible. As the night falls, their brave actions and some fortunate weather extinguish the flames, and the humans head home, leaving the forest’s animals to find growth and new life in the aftermath of the wildfire.

Exciting and educational. Wolff provides a brief yet incredibly thorough look at the impact of forest fires: how they’re fought, how they affect wildlife, and even how they can be a beneficial incident in some ecosystems’ life cycles. Switching between human and animal perspectives also gives a real sense of urgency and empathy; readers can feel the danger that an out-of-control fire can present to human and animal life. Rich, textured illustrations give intensity to scenes of sheltering creatures and smoke jumpers battling huge blazes, as well as a sense of calm and and relief when the danger has passed. Backmatter gives important information on the causes of forest fires, as well as firefighting tools and vocabulary. The length is great for a quick storytime, and JJ loved the animal sections especially. This is a gripping tale that fans of firefighting and forestry will love; Baby Bookworm approved!

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

How to Help a Pumpkin Grow (Ashley Wolff)

Hello, friends! Our book today is How to Help a Pumpkin Grow by Ashley Wolff, a delightful autumn romp for little pumpkin lovers.

Sparse, simple rhyming text follows a farming Border Collie as the pup builds, plants, and tends a pumpkin patch. The dog patiently walks the reader through the simplified pumpkin-growing instructions, garnering the interest, then assistance, of several farmyard friends. At last, the new pals harvest their crop to bake pies and carve jack-a-lanterns together.

Adorable. This sweet and straightforward title spins a delightful and unique fall tale that’s perfect for young readers, incorporating a light lesson on how pumpkins grow and a lot of sweet interactions between the animal cast. The artwork is filled with autumnal colors and clever details, including a mouse character hidden on every spread. The only thing that admittedly threw me was the dog’s oddly-illustrated work gloves, which have thumbs for some reason, but that is a very minor quibble. The length was perfect for even very young bookworms, and JJ loved it. A sweet fall treat, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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