I Love You, Baby Burrito (Angela Dominguez)

Hello, friends! Our book today is I Love You, Baby Burrito by Angela Dominguez, a charming bilingual book for welcoming a family’s newest addition.

“¡Hola, bebé!” begins this adorable read, as the artwork shows a mother and father arriving home with their newborn baby. The parents address their little one directly, introducing the baby to their home, themselves, and fawning over the baby’s little carita, manitas, and deditos. After a quick meal and snuggles, bebé is swaddled for a nap – like a burrito – and wished buenas noches.

Cozy, comforting, and sweet. A universal experience of bringing baby home for the first time is given a very welcome bilingual update through the use of Spanglish in the text; while some Spanish words are followed immediately with English translations, many are not, leaving illustrations to give context clues for non-Spanish speakers. It’s a wonderful way to create a unique narrative for English-Spanish bilingual families without leaving monolinguals stumped, and there’s even a full glossary with pronunciations in the endpapers. Illustrations are bright and rich in color, yet simple and soothing enough for very young eyes, and the affection between the parent and baby characters is heartwarming. The length is perfect for a quick read, and JJ absolutely loved this one – she is learning Spanish in school and loved the seamless integration of the Spanish vocabulary. Overall, this one is a real treat for any reader, especially bilingual Latinx families. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

This Is Baby (Jimmy Fallon)

Hello, friends! Our book today is This Is Baby, written by Jimmy Fallon and illustrated by Miguel Ordóñez, third in the pair’s trilogy of toddler-friendly books.

This is baby! This is baby’s eyes, this is baby’s nose. To say nothing of baby’s toes, and hair, and elbows! A practical guide to baby’s bodies, this sweet and simple book walks little ones through the words for their parts, and of course, the most important part of all: the love they have to share

This is perhaps an unpopular opinion, but I was never the biggest fan of Fallon’s previous two kidlit books – they were fine, but always had a tone that felt geared more for towards amusing adults than something for little and big bookworms to share. Yet with this third book, Fallon has broken into a more sentimental and genuine tone – and the book is better for it. Sweet, gentle rhyming text does a great job of covering body vocabulary, and pairs nicely with cute animals who compare their own features with baby’s (a rhinoceros for “nose”, a fish for “lips”, etc), which provides an additional source of learning once readers have mastered the body-oriented text. And the ending, a sweet ode to the love that babies and their caregivers share, leaves a warm feeling in the heart that will have old and young ready for a second read. The diverse group of babies, with their cheerful, sweet faces, will charm readers young and old. The length is perfect, and JJ loved this one. A great addition to any first library, 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.)

Tyler & Lucy Are The Best Of Friends (Alicia Arso-DiStefano)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Tyler & Lucy Are The Best Of Friends, written by Alicia Arso-DiStefano and illustrated by Alejandra Lopez, a look at a special relationship between a baby boy and his dog.

When her parents bring home baby Tyler from the hospital, Lucy the dog is excited! She’s always loved playing with little ones, but she’s never had a little baby brother of her own. From day one, the little gray dog is gentle and sweet with the tiny baby boy, and baby Tyler is as equally enamored of her. As Tyler grows and becomes more mobile, he and Lucy manage to get into all sorts of adventures – and occasionally trouble as well! Dutiful dog Lucy is quick to make Tyler giggle or kiss away his tears, and Tyler is happy to share his snacks and give her cuddles.

Very sweet. Based on the author’s real-life son and dog, it’s easy to see that each moment is drawn from reality, and the doe-eyed character art and colorful cartoon setting create engaging visuals for this boy-meets-dog tale. The story structure is a bit uneven; it starts with an origin story, then shifts to a “day in the life” without much rise or fall in action. It reads as a mother’s celebration of her child and dog – not necessarily a bad thing, as this creates a soothing story that little dog lovers will enjoy. The illustrations are full of character and color, and while there are a few spreads that rely a bit too much on negative space, the characters are adorable enough to forgive this. The length is great and JJ and I enjoyed it. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Woke Baby (Mahogany L. Browne)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Woke Baby, written by Mahogany L. Browne and illustrated by Theodore Taylor III, a baby book that aims to empower the youngest of bookworms.

A tiny baby wakes in their crib, peeking open their eye before the sun has even risen (the baby’s gender is kept ambiguous throughout). The narrator muses on each motion of waking the baby goes through, and the promise of power it shows: stretching out with fists raised to represent the strength of a panther, eyes open, wide and bright and seeing; feet kicking through glass ceilings, and hands reaching for what is theirs. Woke Baby is here, with limitless promise and possibility, and ready to take on the world.

I admit, on my first read-through of this book, I didn’t get it – tying the actions of a waking baby to the symbols and mores of social activism seemed a bit of a stretch. However, by the second time, I began to understand. I think a universal concern for parents is bringing a child into the world that seems to have so many problems, so much that is going wrong and so much that needs to be fixed; that baby needs to be protected from. This story challenges both the adult and little one to look at it a different way, positing that our power and capacity for change is innate, that it’s in every movement and gesture from the time we first raise our first, babble our first thoughts, and open our eyes – “woke” to the world around us. It’s a very subtle but ultimately encouraging and empowering message for little ones. The art is kept simple, using a limited color palette and a command of light and shadow to keep the titular baby as the visual focus. The length was fine for teeny tiny bookworms, and JJ enjoyed it as well. A minimalist book that inspires complex consideration, and very nicely done. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

I Always Will (Michael C. Kelly)

Hello, friends! Our book today is I Always Will by Michael C. Kelly, a heartfelt ode from a parent to their little one.

From their first breath onward, each child has many memorable milestones. And while they may not remember them all themselves, their parents do: the first hug, first kiss, first night home. Each illness and birthday, each smile and sleepless night, precious moments in their memories. And with each new memory, no matter how old or big their baby gets, a parent’s love is everlasting; from the first breath, they loved you, and always will.

Earnest and sweet. Clearly drawing from personal experience, Kelly gives a sentimental look at some of the near-universal emotions and milestones that a parent goes through with their child, reminiscing on each in a set of warm, soothing couplets. This transitions into a promise to love unconditionally for all the child’s life – it’s a narrative as much for children as it is for the parent reading it, and quite lovely. The art – digital, watercolor-inspired vignettes, mostly against negative space – is a little uneven, mostly due to the constant vacillation between photo-realistic scenes and more cartoonish ones. However, the color palette fits the tone perfectly, and the individual illustrations are very sweet. The length is great, and JJ seemed to enjoy it as well. A strong indie effort that will warm any parent’s heart, and Baby Bookworm approved!

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