Robin Robin (Dan Ojari & Mikey Please)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Robin Robin, written by Dan Ojari and Mikey Please, and illustrated by Briony May Smith, an adorable picture book retelling of the new holiday Netflix special of the same name.

When little Robin’s egg is found by a family of mice, they decide to raise the little bird as a part of their family. Robin loves her parents and siblings, and tries everything she can to be an excellent mouse, especially when the family ventures into the “Who-man” house to stealthily search for crumbs. Unfortunately, Robin isn’t particularly skilled at being stealthy, and the family nearly gets caught by a ferocious cat. Feeling out-of-sorts about the incident, Robin tries once more to be a sneaky as a mouse, a choice that will lead her on an adventure of discovery – about “Chrim-Cross” stars, about a clever collector magpie friend, and most importantly, about herself.

A lovely tale of blended family and self-identity. Robin eventually learns how to embrace her strengths as a bird to help her magpie pal and her beloved mouse family achieve their dreams; it’s a satisfying and affirming outcome, and a lovely message for readers who may themselves feel out of place or stuck between two worlds. The text features some fun repetitive lines that make the story entertaining to read aloud, and the rich artwork has a nice blended of traditional and modern storybook aesthetics. The length is fine for a storytime, and JJ really liked this one – so much so that she wanted to watch the special afterward. Overall, a sweet holiday treat that is light on the Christmas but heavy on themes of familial love and self-acceptance, and we loved. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Mother Bruce (Ryan T. Higgins)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins, a hilarious tale of a bear, four goslings, and a case of mistaken identity.

Bruce the bear is, simply put, a grouch. He doesn’t like sunny days or cute animals, and he hates most everything. The only thing he enjoys is eggs, and cooking them into fancy recipes he finds online. One day, while attempting such a meal, he goes out for more firewood, returning to discover his eggs destroyed… by the four baby goslings that have hatched from them. Worse yet, the goslings seem to think that Bruce is their mother! He will have to figure out what to do with these pesky babies – being “Mama” Bruce was definitely not on the menu.

This is one of the most fun books in JJ’s library to read, and it never fails to raise a chuckle out of us. Between Bruce’s comically sour disposition, the deadpan humor of the text, and the fantastic illustrations and visual gags in the art, it’s an immensely enjoyable read every time. I especially love the rather unexpected ending which, besides being hilarious, has a heartwarming lesson: family doesn’t always have to be genetic. The length is great, and JJ loves this one so much; we would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good laugh with just a dash of tenderness. Baby Bookworm approved!

Bear Likes Jam (Ciara Gavin)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is Bear Likes Jam by Ciara Gavin, an adorable tale about the importance of a balanced diet.

Gavin’s lovely blended family of ducks and their beloved bear returns, with a new challenge to overcome. When Bear tries jam for the first time, he is hooked. Sometimes, he gets so excited that he forgets to share. Sometimes, he eats more than his fill, or even eats jam when he’s not supposed to, like after bedtime. Mother Duck is beginning to worry: growing bears should have healthy, balanced diets. She puts her webbed foot down: no more jam until Bear eats his vegetables. But Bear doesn’t like vegetables! He refuses to eat them, and goes to bed hungry. Can his adoptive family find a way to get Bear excited about healthy eating?

This is the third book in Gavin’s Bear series, and we enjoyed it just as much as the last two. As always, the pen-and-watercolor illustrations are just adorable, and create wonderfully lively characters. The story here was great too: encouraging a balanced diet is always a good lesson for little ones, but I especially liked that it acknowledged that veggies just aren’t always delicious. The family encouraging healthy eating by making a game out of it felt more honest and, frankly, like a fun idea. The length is perfect for young readers, and JJ enjoyed it very much. A great addition to the series, and Baby Bookworm approved!