Mommy’s Night Before Christmas (Katie L. Carroll)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Mommy’s Night Before Christmas, written by Katie L. Carroll and illustrated by Phoebe Cho, a parental twist on the classic Christmas Eve rhyme.

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, plenty of creatures are stirring! From the teething baby to the hyperactive toddler to the mom and dad rushing through prep for the next morning, no one seems to be getting a peaceful or silent eve on this particular night before Christmas. Once the kiddos have finally hit the hay and the gifts under the tree, Mom and Dad are set to relax for a bit… that is, until they hear a thump on their roof. What – or who – could it be?
Good for a giggle, but only for parents. While this title is billed as being for kids and adults, much of the humor is predicated on understanding all the work that goes into the holidays, which most kids simply don’t have a concept of (and honestly, do they need to?). What’s more, there are several jokes and choices of words that are simply not appropriate for younger readers, such as when the mother “jokingly” threatens Santa that if he wakes up her sleeping kids, he “won’t see next year.” Combined with an inconsistent meter, these elements make for a book that may make adults chuckle, but will confuse young kids. Cho’s illustrations are the strongest element of the title, featuring solid character design, excellent color composition, and unique angles and framing. The length is fine for a quick read, but JJ was definitely puzzled, especially as to why the book’s mommy was being so rude to Santa. Overall, not a bad gag for adult readers, but younger audiences should steer clear.

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

Christmas Craft Book: 30 Fun & Festive Projects to Make With Kids (Laura Minter & Tia Williams)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Christmas Craft Book: 30 Fun & Festive Projects to Make With Kids by Laura Minter and Tia Williams, a holly jolly compendium of easy crafting activities to celebrate the Christmas season.

What better way to get in the Yuletide mood than to create some hand-made masterpieces with family and friends? This collection of thirty seasonally-themed crafts, all detailed in step-by-step instructions and color photos, walks prospective crafters through projects like handmade wreaths, artful ornaments, winter wearables, and holiday decorations.

Delightful! We’ve reviewed a few of Minter and Williams’s instructional books before, and we’re glad to see that this one carried through the elements we’ve enjoyed in the past – colorful yet informative visuals, age-appropriate crafts with replicable results, and a focus on both safety and fun. The Christmas-themed crafts in this book were nicely varied, mixing traditional favorites like popsicle stick ornaments and potato stamp wrapping paper with some truly inventive ones, like family photo advent calendars and “Santa-spotter” cardboard binoculars. American readers may have trouble sourcing materials for a cracker snap craft, but otherwise the crafts can easily be completed in an afternoon. Overall, this is a great collection, especially for parents hoping to keep their kiddos busy over the winter holiday. We like it a lot – Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Deer Santa (Hannah Eliot)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Deer Santa, written by Hannah Eliot and illustrated by Kathryn Selbert, a sweet animal pun-themed Christmas board book.

As Christmas creeps closer, a gaggle of animal pals are writing their holiday wishlists and notes for Santa! Deer wants some sparkly lights, Skunk wants some perfume, Mouse is hoping for a tasty piece of cheese. And while all the animals are hoping for their wishes to be granted, they know what matters most: Christmas spirit and friendship.

Very cute! The interactive element of this little title is the most engaging part: pull-tab notes featuring puns using the species of animal on each page, like “Bear-y Christmas” and “Joy to the squirrel!”. The cheerful rhyming text and charming, festive woodland illustrations support this clever conceit very well, and make for a very enjoyable read for young bookworms. It’s a good length for a toddler-aged storytime, and JJ loved the little pull-out notes. A great stocking-stuffer for very young readers, and we liked it. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Santa Jaws (Bridget Heos)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Santa Jaws, written by Bridget Heos and illustrated by Galia Bernstein, a fin-tastic holiday title that combines the Christmas holiday with the awesomeness of sharks.

While kids are preparing for Santa Claus up on dry land, the toothy titans of the deep are excited for their own seasonal visitor: Santa Jaws! Elfin sharks help make toys from shells and coral, cookiecutter sharks are baking up crispy and sweet treats. And on Christmas night, Santa Jaws will board his underwater sled (pulled by hammerheads), check his list, and leave gifts for all the good little shark pups – only taking a nibble of them for himself (to test them out, of course).

Jawesome, festive, fishy fun. For the bookworm who is SUPER into sharks – and we all know at least one kid who is – this is the perfect mix of holiday silliness and marine biology education. While the premise and story are a product of the imagination, the book still introduces eight different real-life species of shark, drawn cartoonishly but with anatomical accuracy; backmatter provides brief information about each one. The artwork is delightful, mixing a natural marine palette of blues, greens, and sandy whites with touches of coral and Christmas cheer. The length is perfect for a storytime, the rhyming text is fun to read aloud, and JJ really enjoyed this one. A great mix of genres that balances learning and entertainment, and we highly recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

How Many Sleeps ‘Til Christmas? (Joff Brown & Gabriele Tafuni)

Hello, friends! Our book today is How Many Sleeps ‘Til Christmas? by Joff Brown and Gabriele Tafuni, a delightful holiday board book to help readers countdown to Christmas.

It’s that time of year again, the time when so many of us are asking: how many sleeps ‘til Christmas? Still, while we wait for the magic day, there’s plenty of holiday fun and festivities to partake in – shopping for presents, making gingerbread houses, making paper chains, decorating the tree… and maybe a few extra-magical holiday moments as well! Before you know it, the countdown will be over, and Christmas will be here!

Happy, cheerful holiday fun. This festive little title celebrates the Christmas holiday in all the ways kids love, from family activities like wrapping gifts and playing in snow to more enchanted and silly moments like snowmen having dance parties and reindeer practicing their flight patterns, all leading up to Christmas Day. Even better, the cozy, colorful illustrations feature a wonderfully diverse cast of families: multigenerational, LGBTQ+, single-parent, mixed-race, and in wonderful mix of skintones and body types. One child wears hearing aids, though this does result in the only hiccup of the book – a page in which Santa is sneaking around the hearing-impaired child’s room that features the line “if you listen closely”. A cringey oversight, but otherwise this was a treat to read aloud. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ loved the bouncy rhymes and holiday theming. A wonderful way to celebrate the countdown to Christmas, and we loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!

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