Peep! (Kevin Luthardt)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Peep! by Kevin Luthardt, a sweet board book about friendship and growing up.

As a little boy wanders through a park, he happens upon a hatching egg (“CRAAAACK!”), out of which emerges a tiny yellow duckling, who immediately lets loose an eager, “Peep!”. Though the boy commands the newborn creature to stay, the baby duck does not, following its new friend all the way home. Seeing how attached the boy and duckling have become, the boy’s parents allow the little one to stay. Seasons pass and the duckling grows, until the fateful day that boy and bird observe a flock of ducks flying past, and the “peeps” of the yellow duckling are suddenly replaced by a definitive, “Quack!”.

Simple yet sweet. Told primarily through pictures, with the exception of mostly monosyllabic phrases and onomatopoeia, this gentle story is a classic that has been done before but with equal affection. While parts of the narrative do feel a little rushed – for instance, more time spent establishing the boy and duckling’s bond would have been welcome – the sentimental outcome and playful button of the story leave the reader satisfied. The artwork is muted yet fits the story well, and a focus on color and expression do a great job of carrying the narrative where text does not. The length is perfect for even the youngest reader, and JJ enjoyed the repetition of sounds and the adorable duckling. A short yet charming read, 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.)

Dino Duckling (Alison Murray)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Dino Duckling by Alison Murray, an adorable and touching tale about being different.

Even before his egg has hatched, Dino’s mama duck knew he was going to be different. After all, her other children are all small, fluffy yellow ducklings and Dino is… not. But from the very start, Mama Duck was sure to tell all her children that even if they didn’t look the same, they were a family and they should always look out for each other. As Dino and his siblings grew, Mama Duck taught them all the things to know about being a duck. And even though he was happy with his family, Dino sometimes felt how very different he was from them – in size and shape and, climactically, his inability to fly south with them for the winter. As his mother and siblings lift off, Dino sinks down and cries, imagining they have finally left him. But family is family, no matter what – and family never leaves one of their own behind.

Lovely. When it comes to complicated issues in children’s books, sometimes the simplest version of the story is best, especially when it has the degree of honesty that this one has. I especially liked that it noted how, even with love and support from family, being different can still be hard on the unique; it shows kids that sometimes being frustrated or sad with what sets them apart is natural and fair. The illustrations are absolutely darling, and JJ went wild for them, ESPECIALLY Dino (you can see her showing them to her own Mr. Dinosaur in the picture). The length is great, and we enjoyed it. A classic tale of family love, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Love Is (Diane Adams)

Hello, friends! For our last book of February, we picked Love Is, written by Diane Adams and illustrated by Claire Keane, a gorgeous and touching story about parenthood.

Told in delicate rhyme, the story follows a little girl who finds a lost duckling, taking her in and caring for her. Through midnight feedings, messy bathtimes, and playful and quiet moments both, the reader watches the bond between the girl and her pet grow, just as the duckling does. Soon, it is time for her beloved duckling to move on to a bigger pond. And while she misses her little yellow friend, she knows that their love will always remain, and even grow.

I completely teared up at this one. On the surface, the tale of little girl and her tiny duckling is the story of the work and care that goes into both friendship and beloved pet. Yet adult readers do not have to look far below the surface to find a moving allegory for a parent’s love: dealing with the joys, frustrations and heartbreaks of watching your tiny love grow and change and, eventually, move on to the bigger world. Keane’s illustrations are as charming as always, with her color palette for Love Is being fondly reminiscent of children’s books from the early mid-century, which gives the art a lovely, nostalgic touch. The rhythm of the text is great, and the length is perfect, and JJ loved the story and the bright yellow ducks. This one is all heart, and might even bring a sentimental tear to your eye. We absolutely loved it, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!