One Busy Bunny (Robie Rogge)

Hello, friends! Our book today is One Busy Bunny, written by Robie Rogge and illustrated by August Ro, a short novelty board book about a very busy little bunny.

Busy Bunny’s got one very important job to do today: to take a basket of eggs and distribute them to all of their friends. Bunny makes sure to give eggs to their friends at the pond, in the garden, and in the woods. And after a long and exhausting day, and with an empty basket in tow, Busy Bunny gets a special surprise all their own!

Short and sweet. The content of the story itself only takes place in five couplets spaced over ten pages, so this is a very quick read. The story is similarly light and airy, mostly just identifying the adorable animals that make up Bunny’s delivery route as they smile happily over their Easter eggs. This combined with the novelty of the bunny rabbit-shaped binding makes it best for very young audiences (though the light cardboard of the pages themselves may have trouble holding up to the rough treatment of baby bookworms). Ro’s soft and lovely illustrations are beautiful to look at (to the point that I wished they were a little larger!), and Rogge’s text is bouncy and fun to read aloud. Overall, this is a fun novelty title that doesn’t exactly reach for the stars, but offers plenty of enjoyment for the youngest of readers and their caregivers. Length was great for the earliest ages, and JJ really enjoyed the unique bunny rabbit binding. Overall, Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Look After Us: A Lift-The-Flap Book (Rod Campbell)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Look After Us: A Lift-The-Flap Book by Rod Campbell, an animal conservation board book from the creator of the classic Dear Zoo.

Everyone loves wild animals! Lions, tigers, elephants, and orangutans are all such incredible creatures, but when the narrator decides to visit where they live, they are surprised to find that there aren’t many left in their natural habitats. “We need to look after them better,” the text repeats, with the narrator imploring the reader to look after these unique and special animals. At last, they visit the ocean, where there are lots and lots of whales. People are looking after the whales, so their numbers are strong, just as they should be.

Clumsy but sincere. While Campbell doesn’t quite recapture the magic of Dear Zoo in this lesson on species conservation for the littlest of bookworms, the genuine intention of inspiring readers to be conscious of endangered species is evident. The text is a little clunky, but uses repetition to its advantage, especially with an intended audience of very early readers. And while the idea that whales are no longer a concern for conservationists (about half of the great whale species are still endangered or vulnerable), Campbell chooses a good mix of kid-favorite critters to highlight; I was particularly surprised to find that Bactrian Camels are endangered in the wild. Simplistic illustrations are charming and a whitespace-heavy layout allows little ones to focus on the animals and their environments. Length was fine for the littlest of bookworms, and JJ enjoyed lifting the flaps. A very basic book to introduce kiddos to the idea of taking care of our wild animal pals, but effective. Overall, Baby Bookworm approved!

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

You Complete Me: A Sliding Pull-Tab Book (Cindy Jin)

Hello, friends! Our book today was You Complete Me: A Sliding Pull-Tab Book, written by Cindy Jin and illustrated by Yuzhen Cai, a short and sweet love letter to the one who makes you whole.

Addressing the reader in first person, the text expresses that the speaker and reader make a perfect pair, and just like other perfect pairs, they work best when together. Like ice cream and a waffle cone, like a kite and string, like a ball and glove, one without the other is simply not complete.

Cute if occasionally awkward. Jin’s rhymes are sugar-sweet, chipper, and fun to read aloud, especially to a little one, and Cai’s kawaii-inspired artwork is absolutely darling. Some of the pairs don’t make as much sense as others – does a tire swing really need wind, or vice versa? – but for a very casual read-through these aren’t too noticeable. My main issue was the functionality of the “pull-tabs,” which did not have tabs at all. The reader has to physically push the moving element to make it go, and while this design is clever in some places, such as one page’s interactive element setting up the next’s, it was often difficult to get the element to move without something to grip, especially for small hands. Otherwise, length was fine for the very smallest bookworms, and JJ enjoyed the colorful illustrations. Overall, a middling yet enjoyable title, and Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Five Little Leprechauns (Jeffrey Burton)

Hello friends, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Our book today is Five Little Leprechauns, written by Jeffrey Burton and illustrated by Tommy Doyle, a festive twist on a classic tale.

A leprechaun-themed retelling of the “Five Little Monkeys” nursery rhyme, this short tale follows five flame-haired and emerald-attired young leprechauns as they get into mischief related to their folklore: playing in fields of clover, hiding in rainbows, and hiding their pots of gold.

Easily skipped. Burton tries to update the original rhyme with leprechaun-related activities, but since the “called the doctor” line remains unchanged throughout, this renders each altered rhyme awkward and clunky, especially when read aloud. The illustrations of the leprechauns at play are cute, but the odd inclusion of bubbles on most of the spreads to show the leprechauns’ mother and doctor interrupt their visual charm unnecessarily. There’s also a part in which the creators seem to have forgotten that Ireland and Scotland are two different countries with entirely separate folklore (a Loch Ness and “Nessie” reference is made, despite this clearly being a Irish/St. Patrick’s-themed book). Length is fine for a quick storytime, and JJ enjoyed the artwork some, but content-wise, this one’s a bit of a mess. Not for us.

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

Tummy Time! (Mama Makes Books)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Tummy Time! by Mama Makes Books, an interactive board book for the very youngest of bookworms!

For the first six months of baby’s life, their eyesight is still developing the ability to see the world the way adults do. During this time, babies are drawn to high-contrast black-and-white images, human faces, and eventually bright colors. This clever little title takes advantage of those helpful developmental qualities and creates a fold-out book that babies can enjoy with a caregiver, or especially during tummy time!

An awesome idea! As anyone who’s been through the early infancy stage of parenting knows, babies are absolutely drawn to faces and high-contrast images, which in turn leads to healthy eye development. With a series of simple images – high-contrast illustrations, pictures of babies, and even a mirror page so babies can view themselves while developing visual acuity, as well as head, neck, and other muscles during tummy time. There is minimal text, making this less of a story and more of an activity, but the layout, concertina binding, and perfect weight of the board (not too light as to be flimsy, and not too heavy as to pose a rise to infants) make it an ideal tummy time or early-reading experience. One note: this one is definitely not waterproof, and will likely not stand up long to little chewers and chompers. But as a fun, safe, easily-portable, electronic-free activity for infants, this is a brilliant idea with fantastic execution. Baby Bookworm approved!

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