I Used To Be Famous (Becky Cattie & Tara Luebbe)

Hello, friends! Our book today is I Used To Be Famous, written by Becky Cattie and Tara Luebbe and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, a follow-up to last year’s I Am Famous.

Kiely – the precocious, performing girl of the first book – is back, and still the center of attention. She has practically everything one might expect from a triple-threat celebrity in the spotlight: a personal shopper (her mom), a dazzling biography (her baby book), and paparazzi following her every move… well, she used to! Suddenly there’s a new star in town: new baby sister Abby, who despite not being able to sing or dance or act (and sort of smelling like poop), effortlessly commands the room. Kiely tries to wrestle the spotlight back to herself, but to no avail. She finally admits to defeat to Abby, but finds that her little sister may just be the loyal fan, performing partner, and perhaps even best friend she’s been looking for.

Very cute! Beginning by reestablishing the tongue-in-cheek humor of the first book, the author pair does a great job of continuing the story of Kiely while also allowing new readers to immediately engage with this boisterous and confident young girl. From there, we get a solid tale of becoming a big sibling through her eyes. It hits the familiar beats of a “new baby” book, but in a uniquely “Kiely” way, moving from jealousy to acceptance, to a growing bond of sisterhood, all with a focus on performing and their humorous “diva” status. Lee-Vriethoff’s art is as charming and endearing as ever, filling Kiely and Abby with loads of personality and emotion. The length is perfect, and JJ has a lot of fun with it. A great new baby book for the household diva, and 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.)

Mama’s Belly (Kate Hosford)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Mama’s Belly, written by Kate Hosford and illustrated by Abigail Halpin, a vibrantly-colored, yet quiet and touching, look at a little girl as her family prepares for a new baby.

The unnamed young protagonist knows her baby sister is on the way – she can see the swell of her Mama’s belly like a rising sea. And she has a number of questions about the new arrival: Will her sister know her, when she arrives? Will she have freckles like her? Will the girl have to share her beloved blanket with the baby? And lastly, will her parents have enough love for her and the baby to share? Her patient parents answer each question, and the little girl helps to care for her Mama and prepare for the baby. Finally, the girl cuddles against her mother, stretching arms wide around her belly, so that she can hug her mother and the new baby all at once.

Gentle, warm, and simply lovely. There’s a sincere and almost meditative quality in which the narrative of the family’s day unfolds, inviting the reader into the mind of the curious, and perhaps a bit anxious, big-sister-to-be. Then, as her parents comfort her with reassuring and encouraging words, the soothing text and vivid, inviting illustrations wrap around the reader like a cozy blanket. The art is just beautiful, bringing the audience into a comfy house bursting with color in rich, warm tones. The multi-ethnic family is a nice choice, the length is great, and JJ loved it. A wonderful way to help prepare little readers for new siblings, 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.)

Marigold & Daisy (Andrea Zuill)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the delightful Marigold & Daisy by Andrea Zuill, a story of the highs and lows of sisterhood.

Life was pretty great for Marigold – that is, until her ultra-adorable, uber-annoying little sister Daisy was born. Daisy is such a pain! Everybody fusses over how cute she is, and she follows Marigold everywhere, and she gets away with everything! Marigold feels overlooked, under-appreciated, and most of all, irritated. In fact, she’s pretty sure that Daisy has a nefarious evil plan to take over the world using her super-powered cuteness. But when Marigold is bullied by another bug, she might be surprised at who comes to her rescue – and at what she has to say!

Very sweet. The transition from only child to big sister or brother can be a difficult one for littles, so we’re always on the lookout for books that deal with the range of emotions they can go through during this time. This one hits a lot of relatable emotions (Marigold’s sense of being pushed aside when the new baby comes, for instance) while also conveying the all-important moral of the story: sisterhood isn’t always perfect, but there’s no friendship or relationship like it. The text is easily read aloud, and has a bunch of great comedic beats that make it fun. The illustrations are wonderfully expressive, using a mix of pen-and-ink and watercolor to bring the world of snails and insects to life. The length is perfect, and JJ loved it. A great story for helping little ones laugh through a time of transition, and we recommend it highly. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Maple (Lori Nichols)

Hello, everyone! Today’s book is Maple by Lori Nichols, a wonderfully sweet story about a little girl and her very best friend… who happens to be a tree.

Back when Maple was still in her Mommy’s tummy, her parents planted a little tree in her honor. And as Maple grew, her namesake did as well, eventually becoming a small sapling the perfect size for a little girl to sit under and dream. Maple loves her tree, giving it a coat when it’s cold outside, dancing along with it in the wind, and playing beneath its leafy branches. Still, she sometimes wishes she had another person to play with (for instance, trees aren’t great at throwing snowballs). One day, she is surprised to find another tiny tree alongside her own… and to learn that she has a baby sister on the way. It might be new and scary, but Maple just may find that there is room under the branches of her tree for two.

This was a lovely, gentle story about nature and family. Maple’s kind, caring instincts toward her tree becoming a nurturing instinct toward her baby sister is very endearing, and makes for a very soothing and mellow story. The art, which includes real maple leaf rubbings as a motif, is adorable. The length is great, and JJ really enjoyed this. This would be a great gift for a little one who is about to be a big sibling, or for any child who loves the outdoors. Baby Bookworm approved!

Little Big Girl (Claire Keane)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is Little Big Girl by Claire Keane, a heart-meltingly sweet ode to big sisterhood.

Matisse is a little girl. Every morning, she brushes her little teeth, ties her little shoes, and gets into her little car seat to go off into her big, busy city. But when Matisse’s baby brother is born, she realizes that she’s not so little after all. In fact, compared to him, she’s big! So she decides that it’s her responsibility to help the new little one learn the ropes, so they can explore the great big world together.

What a positively lovely book. Inspired by her own children, Keane takes a classic theme, introducing a new baby to the family, and infuses it with miles of heart. I loved that Matisse never shows jealousy or reluctance in the face of her big sisterhood, and is in fact excited to help and interact with the new baby. And the theme of Matisse finding her place in the new order of things as both a little girl and a big sister, feels fresh and personal. The art is absolutely endearing, and Matisse and family will have any reader charmed. The length is just right for baby bookworms, and JJ absolutely adored it. This is a perfect pick for little ones getting ready to welcome a new sibling into their lives, and we highly recommend it. Emphatically Baby Bookworm approved!