Listen Up, Louella (Ashley Belote)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Listen Up, Louella by Ashley Belote, a story about communication and cooperation.

Louella the elephant is SO excited for Roar Scout Camp! She’s ready and raring to paint pictures, make music, play games, go canoeing, and much more with her Roar Scout friends. However, in her exuberance, Louella doesn’t notice that she’s made a habit of taking over every activity and ruining the fun for the others. Worse, when her friends try to speak up about it, she simply will not listen! Louella’s behavior is making camp a lot less fun for all her pals… but as it happens, it may also result in Louella missing out on future fun as well. Can Louella learn to calm down, listen up, and cooperate?

A simple story with a welcome lesson. We all know the little ones with the BIG personalities, who may inadvertently steal the thunder of quieter or smaller companions. Using a compassionate narrative and colorful art, Belote tells a story here that communicates the importance of listening and showing consideration while making Louella’s “big personality” sympathetic. In this way, it speaks to both of those types of kids, and encourages understanding all around. A combination of speech bubbles and narrative text means the layout of some pages can get a little confusing, especially when reading aloud, but the artwork is endearing and fun, and length is perfect for storytime, and JJ and I both really liked this (especially since JJ has often been on both sides of this particular communication divide). Overall, a really pleasing title that tackles a common social problem for kiddos, and we 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.)

Grace Goes To Washington (Kelly DiPucchio)

Hello friends, and happy International Women’s Day! To celebrate, we’re reviewing Grace Goes To Washington, written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, the sequel to one of our all-time favorite titles, Grace For President.

The school trip to Washington, D.C. is coming up, and Grace – the aspiring government leader who already has a successful run for class president under her belt – could not be more excited. For now, however, she must work in congress with her fellow class representatives to decided what to do with the proceeds from the school bake sale. Different contingents propose different needs: new athletic equipment, new band instruments, or new library books? Grace isn’t sure how to vote, as all are worthy causes. The class trip to D.C. provides a break from the debate, and Grace is deeply inspired by what she sees. Yet when she returns to school, all she sees is unrest – the fighting over how the bake sale money should be spent has reached a fever pitch, and friends are arguing on the playground. But in the melee, Grace notices a lonely new student, and inspiration strikes. Perhaps what the school needs most of all is a reminder of what people can accomplish when they work together.

Lovely. Just as Grace challenged the ideas that only men could lead in her previous book, she’s back to encourage teamwork and cooperation over partisanship (doesn’t that sound nice?). And like the previous title worked in a wonderful explanation of how the electoral college functions, this one provides a lesson in the branches of government, the executive and legislative in particular. Pham’s art features diverse characters that are alive with emotion and personality, and the text is earnest and impactful. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ and I were both so pleased to see Grace inspiring other kids to take the lead and do what’s right once again. A worthy sequel, and a reminder for readers big and small that by working together despite our differences, we can achieve great and lasting things. Baby Bookworm approved!

Snakes On The Job (Kathryn Dennis)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Snakes On The Job by Kathryn Dennis, a delightful look at how different work vehicles come together to complete a job.

As the workday begins for some very busy snakes, they all pile into their equally hardworking vehicles: cranes, bulldozers, dump trucks, forklifts, and excavators, to name a few. The engines go vROOM and, much like the snakes themselves, “Hisssssssssssssh goes the sound of the brakes”. Each subsequent page explains the function of the individual trucks, showing how cranes lift big objects into place, backhoes dig holes for posts, and food trucks keep everyone fed, all while the snakes work together on a massive project: a playground for everyone to enjoy!

Loads of fun. Dennis’s illustrations utilize simple shapes and colorblock figures against mostly white backgrounds to achieve a bright and vivid world without being overstimulating. The cheerful rhyming text does a fantastic job of tying the book’s elements together, concisely explaining the vehicles while also emphasizing the importance of teamwork and sharing, and the onomatopoeic refrain is delightful, especially for young snake lovers. The length is great for preschool-age or younger bookworms, and JJ and I had a blast reading it. This is a great read for little builders, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Eraser (Anna Kang)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Eraser, written by Anna Kang and illustrated by Christopher Weyant, a look at how teamwork requires respect and cooperation.

Eraser is just as hardworking and dedicated as the other school supplies, but she can’t help but feel overlooked. After all, nearly all the other supplies create something, but her work leaves no trace behind. What’s worse, while she does all the proofreading and erases all the mistakes Pencil makes, Pencil always takes credit for her work, causing a Pencil to be lauded while Eraser is largely ignored. After her attempt to contribute creatively to a project is mocked by Pencil and the others, Eraser has had enough, and decides to move on. She takes a flying leap off the desk, landing in the wastebin, where she finds an unexpected group of supporters. Meanwhile, without Eraser to help correct mistakes, Pencil and the others find that perfection doesn’t come nearly as easy as it once did.

Clever! The dialogue-exclusive story uses a clever metaphor about the importance of diverse talents – mixed in with a healthy heaping of office supply-related puns, to explore why it’s important to respect every member of a team or group, no matter how unimportant their role may appear. After all, it’s often the people behind-the-scenes that do the most work of all. The illustrations are very cute, creating simple character designs out of easily-recognizable school supplies, which will spark little ones’ imaginations about the familiar objects. The length is good, and JJ enjoyed it, so this one’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.)

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!