Help Mom Work From Home! (Diana Murray)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Help Mom Work From Home!, written by Diana Murray and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld, a humorous look at the delicate dance of working from home with kids.

These days, work and home can be the same place, and the irrepressible young narrator of our tale is keen to “help” Mom go about her busy day. While mom slogs through Zoom meetings, packing and shipping, writing emails, and taking calls, her kiddo is sure to provide hairstyling, delicious (Play-doh) snacks, office design, and organizational expertise. And when the day’s work is done, the family settles in for a relaxing and well-earned takeout meal. Working from home may not always go smoothly, but there’s never a dull moment with Mom’s very special helper around.

Sweet but disorganized. As a concept, a story about parents balancing at-home childcare with working a virtual job is one that appeals, as so many families have lived this experience over the last two years. And in a broad sense, the Murray’s story works well; it’s a lesson that while things may not always work out perfectly, but as long as everyone is together and happy at the end of the day, things will be okay. Unfortunately, it’s the tone of the humor, which sees mom becoming increasingly frazzled as her child disrupts her work and creates havoc in their home as they try to “help”, that misses the mark. The cheerful and guileless text over illustrations of the harried mother attempting to juggle her destructive yet well-meaning child may ring a little too accurate for adult readers to be truly humorous, while younger readers are likely to miss the joke entirely. Doerrfeld’s illustrations are charming, and do convey a great deal of affection between the characters, but they also – for better or worse – accurately display the sort of anxiety-inducing chaos that often comes with juggling multiple roles from home. It’s lot of elements that work well, but not necessarily well together. Otherwise, the length was fine for a quick storytime, and JJ enjoyed the artwork. A slightly erratic tale, but perhaps one that will give work-from-home parents a chuckle, and don’t we all need that? Overall, Baby Bookworm approved.

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

Wild About Dads (Diana Murray)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Wild About Dads, written by Diana Murray and illustrated by Amber Alvarez, a sweet celebration of the dads of the animal world.

Dads are great at lots of things: they can help their kids to reach up high, they play games, they carry little ones on piggyback, and so much more! But it’s not only human dads who can do these wonderful things: dads in the animal kingdom do them too! Over a dozen animal dads are shown doing things with their little ones, like sharing snacks (pelicans), fetching dinner (red foxes), and giving a bath (African wild dogs). Bookended with scenes of human dads playing with their kids at a playground tie the theme together: “There’s a lot that dads can do. The best of all is loving you!”

Fun and educational. Young animal enthusiasts will love learning the factoids about the animal dads, explored briefly in the jaunty rhyming text and expanded upon in the endpapers. I especially liked that animals included a few lesser-known creatures; animal-crazy JJ was delighted to learn about Bearded Emperor Tamarins Sandhill Cranes. The artwork is lush, colorful and very cute, drawing the animals with endearing, cartoonish features that make them all look especially cuddly-cute. The length was perfect for any age, and JJ loved it! This would be a great one for dads to share with their own little critters, 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.)