Duck And Hippo In The Rainstorm (Jonathan London)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the very sweet Duck And Hippo In The Rainstorm, written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Andrew Joyner, the tale of two best friends spending an adventure-filled rainy day together.

As a light drizzle begins to fall, Duck heads over to her best pal Hippo’s house to ask if he would like to go for a walk in the rain. Hippo is unsure, but promises to go if they can share Duck’s umbrella. It takes a little cooperation to find a configuration that keeps them both dry, but they arrive upon a solution that works just fine. So begins a day of fun and adventure for the pair of friends, who find that even enjoying a stroll in the rain can have its challenges, but that win your best friend by your side, everything will work out okay.

We enjoyed this one! There’s a very classic, old-school sensibility to the plot structure: the friends never argue, there is no major conflict or obstacle (just small hiccups that are mostly easily overcome, often with teamwork), and the friends remain positive, supportive and good-hearted throughout. It makes for a rather cheerful and lighthearted read that we both enjoyed! The art is also inspired by classic storybooks: clean lines, expressive characters, and bright, simple colors make for a timeless look that was very engaging for JJ. The length was good, and this one left us with a smile. Baby Bookworm approved!

Best Friends: We Are Better Together (Priddy Books)

Hello, friends! Today, we’re reviewing Priddy Books’ Best Friends: We Are Better Together, created by Emma Jennings and written by Robyn Newton, a simple, fun, yet poignant board book that celebrates diverse cooperation.

Some things are just better together! For instance, lemons are fine, flour is nice, sugar is yummy and eggs and butter are great too. But when they’re put all together, they make a cake! And raspberries, strawberries and yogurt are all delicious alone, but when you mix them together, what do you get? A smoothie! And a bit of paper, a pair of scissors, some tape and ribbon? They can join together to wrap a present. Yes, things of all shapes, sizes, and materials can be wonderful on their own, but they are often better together!

What a great board book for little readers! From the adorable illustrations – doodles over photographs of each object or item – to the fun and easy-to-read rhymes, this was a delight for JJ, and great for object identification. And while there’s not as much a story as there is a concept, it’s a great one: it teaches children how things can come together to make something even better, and subtly shows that, with the right mix and bit of teamwork, diverse groups often have the best finished products. It’s a smart lesson taught in a very clever and entertaining way. We loved this one, and highly recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

Pug & Pig: Trick-Or-Treat (Sue Lowell Gallion)

Hello, friends! Happy October! We’re starting off the Halloween season with a review of the delightfully fun Pug & Pig: Trick-Or-Treat, written by Sue Lowell Gallion and illustrated by Joyce Wan.

In this spooky sequel, Pug and Pig are back and getting ready for the holiday: their house is decorated, their yard has a scarecrow, and they have their own personalized pumpkins. They even have matching costumes: skeleton suits with masks. Pig loves his costume! It hugs her and her round tummy, and she likes that the mask disguises her. Pug, however, is less thrilled. He does like the way the leotard squishes him, and hates that the mask hides who he is. Fed up, Pug shreds his costume into pieces all over the yard and decides he’s done with Halloween. This makes Pig sad: she was looking forward to her first Halloween and doing all the fun activities with her very best friend. Can the two find a compromise so that they can both enjoy the holiday?

This was a great follow-up to the relentlessly charming Pug Meets Pig. The adorably unlikely pals are back in all their Kawaii-inspired glory, looking so cute and cuddly on each page that you want to reach out and snuggle them. The story is great, too: the two find a good compromise wherein Pig has her friend to trick-or-treat with, but Pug feels comfortable in what he’s wearing. The length is perfect, and JJ loves the darling duo. This one is a great way to celebrate the holiday while teaching a lesson in friendship and compromise, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved! 

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

Friends (Eric Carle)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is Friends by Eric Carle, the story of two friends separated by distance and fate coming together again.

A little boy and girl are best friends. They do everything together and spend every waking moment in each other’s company. That is, until the girl moves far away, and the boy find himself lonely as he misses his friend. So the boy sets out on a journey, over mountains, across rivers, and threw snow and rain to be with his friend again. At last, he finds his friend, and it’s as though they are never apart: they once again play together, laugh together, and even get married.

I think it’s pretty widely accepted that Eric Carle is one of the great masters of children’s literature, so it’s hard to be critical of his work, but this one was a bit of a letdown for us. Much of the art is simply not Carle’s best: the majority of the book is dominated by two-page spreads that offer nothing but abstract colors meant to represent a river, a field, a rainstorm, etc. They are very minimal and offer no detail, and JJ was pretty unimpressed with them. The story is enjoyable, but the twist ending is just a bit odd. The concept of children marrying each other feels very strange in general, and when combined with the post-script of a photo of the author and his childhood friend, who did move away but whom he never reconnected with, it’s a bit confusing for little ones and adult readers alike. The length is fine but, as I mentioned, the art isn’t very engaging, and JJ started getting antsy around 2/3 through. So while Carle’s body of work boasts many, many gems, this one just isn’t one of our favorites.

Say Hello To Zorro! (Carter Goodrich)

Hello, friends! Today, we read Say Hello To Zorro! by Carter Goodrich, a delightful and sweet story of two dogs learning how to become friends.

Mister Bud is a very happy dog. He has his own house, his own toys, his own bed, and most importantly, his schedule. EVERYONE has to stick to the schedule: wake up time, go for a walk time, nap time, greet and make a fuss time – everything must go in it’s proper order. One day, however, a stranger comes home with Mister Bud’s human: a bossy little pug named Zorro. Mister Bud and Zorro are immediately at odds; Zorro sleeps on Mister Bud’s bed with his own toys, and Mister Bud doesn’t like how Zorro crowds him. They simply can’t seem to find common ground… that is, until they suddenly realize that they keep the same schedule! Soon, they are finding lots of things in common, like their love of chasing cats and greeting their human at the door. And while they still sometimes disagree, Mister Bud and Zorro find that having a best friend to share their day with is worth it.

This one was so adorable. Anyone who has introduced a new dog to a home that already had one will recognize the distinctly familiar dance of two dogs working out a shared space together. And as the plot summary suggests, it also makes a wonderful metaphor for friendship: it’s often about making compromises, finding common interests, and working out how to fit into each other’s lives. The illustrations are too cute, giving tons of personality to the pudgy Mister Bud, as well as Zorro, the most hilariously severe-looking pug I’ve ever seen. The length is perfect for little ones, and JJ and I both enjoyed it very much. A precious and fun tale of two furry friends, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!