Little Elliot, Fall Friends (Mike Curato)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the latest in the positively charming Little Elliot series: Little Elliot, Fall Friends by Mike Curato. In this newest adventure, Elliot and Mouse enjoy the wonders of fall, and find some new friends along the way.

Little Elliot the elephant and his very best friend Mouse love living in the big city, but sometimes even they need a break from the noise and dirt and crowds. So one day, the pair decide to take a bus trip up to the country to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. The countryside is everything they hoped for and more: there’s beautiful scenery, delicious treats, and plenty of space and quiet to enjoy each other’s company. The pair decide to play a game of hide-and-seek, and after a few rounds, Elliot finds the perfect hiding spot. Perhaps a little TOO perfect, in fact. Hours pass without Mouse finding him, and Little Elliot begins to grow scared. Can he find his friend again in the great big countryside?

Once again, Curato has brought a lovely story and gorgeous art together to create a wonderful storybook for the eyes and ears. While the previous Little Elliot books deal with slightly more serious themes (loneliness, family, overcoming fears, etc), this one is almost entirely simple fun and a celebration of autumn. The main conflict is resolved quickly, which gives the rest of the book plenty of time to focus on pumpkins, fall leaves, delicious foods, and friends and family coming together. The art is as beautiful as always, placing the adorable characters of Elliot and Mouse in stunning environments, this time using a soft autumnal palette that’s a feast for the eyes. The length is great, and JJ and I both loved it. A wonderful addition to one of our favorite series, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Wonderfall (Michael Hall)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the lovely Wonderfall by Michael Hall, a clever book of word mash-ups that celebrates the fall season.

Told through the eyes of a colorful autumn tree, we are presented with scenes from fall, each set to the theme of a different play on the word “fall.” There are the “beautifall” shades of red, orange, and brown that make up the season’s colors, the “frightfall” costumes of the trick-or-treaters on Halloween, the “plentifall” harvest, and a “thankfall” holiday full of delicious treats to gobble-gobble up. Then, as the air turns cool and the tree loses its leaves, it is delighted to welcome a new kind of fall: the first snowfall of winter.

What a fabulous book! This one was a delightfall (yes, I did that) feast for the eyes and ears, using a clever premise and some truly joyful art to celebrate all the best aspects of the autumn season. Each “fall” word is accompanied by a short poem that captures the subject in lovely minimal style, which both illustrates the topic while giving the main character – a tree – an astounding amount of endearing personality. The art manages to use a fall color palette and simple shapes to create images bursting with life, energy, and spectacle. The length was perfect, and JJ and I both adored it. This is a wonderfall book to help ring in the season with your little one, and it’s absolutely Baby Bookworm approved.

Little Frog And The Scary Autumn Thing (Jane Yolen)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is Little Frog And The Scary Autumn Thing, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Ellen Shi, a wonderful tale that uses the change of seasons as a metaphor for how to handle changes in our lives.

Little Frog loves the color green. It’s her very favorite color, and all her favorite things are green: her family, her lily pad, even her own self. So when the trees of her forest begin to turn from green to brand new colors, like red and yellow and orange and even – gasp! – purple, Little Frog feels nervous. Maybe even afraid. But Mama Frog and Papa Frog are here to help her overcome her fears, and learn that change is simply a part of life, and in change can be found new joys, fun experiences, and even familiar comforts. 

In a book written by Jane Yolen, you’re almost expecting a wonderful story, and this one fits the bill. On the surface, it’s a sweet tale about the change of seasons, but Yolen layers in some truly lovely messages about the anxieties we all have about big changes (yes, all – even Papa Frog shows nervousness of the purple leaves). There’s an especially clever moment when, being brave and trying to explore her changing world, Little Frog ends up falling and scraping her knee, and the story stops to focus on it. It’s a small yet meaningful detail, showing that sometimes change is especially hard at first, even painful. The art is beautiful, capturing both the fall colors and the mood of the Frog family perfectly. The length is good, edging on long for tiny bookworms, but JJ enjoyed it very much. This was a well-crafted parable that had a lot to enjoy, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Leaves (David Ezra Stein)

Hello, everybody! Our book today is Leaves by David Ezra Stein, a sweet and simple read about a bear’s first autumn.

Bear has enjoyed his first year, having spent it exploring his lovely forest. But as the weather turns colder, Bear is very surprised to see the leaves change colors, then begin falling off the tree. First one, then another, then lots and lots, falling into colorful piles on the ground. Bear tries to reattach the leaves, but it’s not the same. Finally, Bear finds that he has grown very tired, and takes some of the fallen leaves to a den in the ground, falling into a deep sleep as snow coats the ground. And when he wakes up again in spring, he is glad to find that the trees are looking much better, and are even beginning to sprout brand new leaves.

This was a very nice and pretty straightforward autumn story, complete with woodland animals, falling leaves, and learning about the change of seasons. It hit a lot of positives for us: it was very sweet, had fun, playful illustrations and a charming main character, and a perfect length for little readers. It’s a perfectly fine book, but to be honest, nothing about it blew us away. Truth be told, JJ seemed a bit bored with this one, and it didn’t really make a lasting impression on me. It’s a fine fall book; covers the basics, but ultimately feels a bit formulaic (it didn’t help that the plot was strikingly similar to Fletcher And The Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson, which featured many of the same beats but with a breathtakingly gorgeous final page). But ultimately, it’s still a very enjoyable book about falling leaves and the changing seasons, and we liked it fine. Baby Bookworm approved!

One More Acorn (Don Freeman & Roy Freeman)

Hello, friends! Today, we read One More Acorn by Don Freeman and Roy Freeman, the story of a little squirrel and his quest to find the perfect acorn.

Earl the squirrel has to find lots of acorns to feed his family before winter hibernation, so he has lots of work to do. He’s got just the acorn in mind, too: the big one he hid in summer. But Washington D.C. is bustling with people and cars today, and it’s tough to get around. Will Earl be able to find one more acorn before autumn is over?

Fans of Don Freeman, known best for his classic book Corduroy, will love this sweet, simple story about Earl and his acorn hunt, discovered and completed by his son Roy over 30 years after Don passed away. It’s a fairly standard autumn story, covering the work of busy squirrels and set against a lovely backdrop of Washington D.C. in the fall. The length is good for baby bookworms, and JJ really liked this one, especially the gorgeous illustrations, their autumnal color scheme, and adorable little Earl and his family. This one is a nice one for when fall rolls back around, and we recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!