Here Comes Fall! (Susan Kantor)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Here Comes Fall!, written by Susan Kantor and illustrated by Katya Longhi, a sweet celebration of fall fun.

A group of adorable forest friends celebrate the arrival of fall, and all the fun that comes along with it. They rejoice in the red and gold of the autumn leaves, the cooler weather, and the crisp air. Donning their cozy sweaters, they gather together to pick apples and carve pumpkins, and jump in crunchy leaf piles. And of course, fall brings cool nights with frosty windows, perfect for enjoying moonlit skies or cozying inside with friends and family.

Generic yet sweet. This colorful board book of autumnal themes doesn’t have anything particularly groundbreaking to offer, but what it does, it does very well. The text is simple and easy to read, yet does a good job of capturing the sensations and excitements of fall weather and activities. The illustrations are very cute, and all of the wide-eyed animal pals are endearing and cuddly-looking. Allusions to autumn holidays are scant; only Halloween is referenced, but is not mentioned by name. The length is great for a quick read through, and JJ enjoyed the cute animals and fall themes. Overall, a sweet little book whose approachable style makes up for lack of substance; if you’re looking for a simple fall board book, this one will do the trick – 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 to Help a Pumpkin Grow (Ashley Wolff)

Hello, friends! Our book today is How to Help a Pumpkin Grow by Ashley Wolff, a delightful autumn romp for little pumpkin lovers.

Sparse, simple rhyming text follows a farming Border Collie as the pup builds, plants, and tends a pumpkin patch. The dog patiently walks the reader through the simplified pumpkin-growing instructions, garnering the interest, then assistance, of several farmyard friends. At last, the new pals harvest their crop to bake pies and carve jack-a-lanterns together.

Adorable. This sweet and straightforward title spins a delightful and unique fall tale that’s perfect for young readers, incorporating a light lesson on how pumpkins grow and a lot of sweet interactions between the animal cast. The artwork is filled with autumnal colors and clever details, including a mouse character hidden on every spread. The only thing that admittedly threw me was the dog’s oddly-illustrated work gloves, which have thumbs for some reason, but that is a very minor quibble. The length was perfect for even very young bookworms, and JJ loved it. A sweet fall treat, 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.)

Before We Sleep (Giorgio Volpe & Paolo Proietti)

Hello, friends! Our book today Before We Sleep by Giorgio Volpe and Paolo Proietti, a soft and sweet tale of fall friendship.

Little Red the fox is excited for the change of seasons that brings fall – it means autumn colors to hide in and crunchy leaves to play with. The only thing that makes the fall even more fun is the time spent with Red’s best friend, Hazel the dormouse. The pair spend a marvelous fall frolicking and playing hide-and-seek. Yet as the air grows colder, Little Red begins to fret; soon winter will be here, and Hazel will go into hibernation, leaving Red all along until spring. Trying to think of ways to keep Hazel from hibernating, Red resorts to asking if Hazel will try to stay awake this year, but the dormouse gently replies that when spring has come again, they will be back together. Until then, they can enjoy the time they have by appreciating their best friend.

Very sweet. This Italian import explores themes of friendship, even through separation, in a gentle, tender, yet surprisingly honest fashion. And while the ending feels a little abrupt, it does leave the reader with the implication that even while Hazel hibernates, Red will be okay, if a little lonely, until spring. The text, with translation by Angus Yuen-Killick is filled with language that paints a beautiful autumnal story, and cleverly and subtly chooses not to gender either of the main characters. The soft, smoky lines of the pencil art is cozy yet moody, and captures the tone perfectly. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ enjoyed it, even if she also felt the ending was a little unexpected. This is a different kind of tale, but one no less meaningful for it, 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.)

The Little Kitten (Nicola Killen)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Little Kitten by Nicola Killen, an adorable autumn tale of feline friendship.

Little Ollie, clad in a playful catsuit, is ready to head outside to enjoy a fall day with her own pet cat, Pumpkin. Yet just as she’s about to jump into a pile of crunchy leaves, a gust of wind blows them all away – to reveal a shivering kitten hidden within! Ollie and Pumpkin welcome their new friend with a day of play and cuddles, but in all the excitement, Ollie and the new kitten run off and accidentally leave Pumpkin behind. Discovering some “Lost Kitten” flyers, Ollie realizes that her new friend is missed by his own person, and endeavors to help him find his way home. With a mysterious path, a missing Pumpkin, and a quickly-falling night, can Ollie get the kitten home… without becoming lost herself?

Delightful. This sweet-as-pumpkin-pie story is as gentle and cozy of an autumn tale as any reader could wish for. Themes of adventure and friendship (and just a hint of Halloween) are rich, yet the story itself is simple, making for a lovely and light storytime. Equally appealing is the soft yet striking artwork, which features adorable, endearing characters in shades of gray, white, and orange. The sporadic cutouts and gorgeous use of foil amongst the fall foliage is the cherry on top. The length is perfect, and JJ adored it. A modern fall classic-in-the-making that’s sure to please, 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.)

In The Middle Of Fall (Kevin Henkes)

Hello, friends! Our book today is In The Middle Of Fall, written by Kevin Henkes and illustrated by Laura Dronzek, a lovely meditation on the magical time of year when nature is filled with the color of fall.

There is a time that comes only once a year… a short time between the air growing cooler and the ice coming in, between the chittering of animals and the silence of snowfall, between the bright green of leaves on the tree and the naked branches reaching into a blank white sky. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it time, but if you’re paying attention, there’s ripe round pumpkins and apples, busy squirrels, and a cool gray sky. And occasionally, when the wind stirs up just right, the world becomes a riotous flutter of reds and yellows and oranges and browns that leap from the treetops to dance and settle on the ground.

This is a quiet and very mellow book about autumn, and I really liked it. The text is minimal and contemplative, and very soothing to read aloud, considering and celebrating just a handful of fall things and colors in a reverent sort of tone. The art compliments this perfectly, capturing the elements of fall in a soft autumnal palette that rises and falls with the gentle narrative of the words. The length is fine, and JJ and I both enjoyed it. A tranquil exploration of the beauty of autumn, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!