Peter Easter Frog (Erin Dealey)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Peter Easter Frog, written by Erin Dealey and illustrated by G. Brian Karas, a delightfully odd twist on the traditional Easter mascot.

Beginning with a variation of the classic “Peter Cottontail” rhyme, readers are introduced to Peter Easter Frog, a dapper little amphibian on a mission of spreading Easter cheer. As he introduces himself and distributes eggs to various animal friends – a turtle, a cow, a sheepdog, and a chipmunk – they too are swept up in Peter’s zest for spring celebration, and decide to help. That is, until, they come face to face with the real Easter Bunny, who has some thoughts on imitators…

A sweet and hilarious holiday tale. Adorable Peter Easter Frog’s enthusiasm for Easter fun is as contagious for the reader as it seems to be for his pals, and Dealey’s clever dialogue and creative revisions of “Peter Cottontail” make for a fun read-aloud experience. The shift between dialogue and refrain can occasionally be difficult to spot on first reading, and knowing the melody of the original song is also very helpful, but neither are critical issues. Karas’s scribbly mixed-media illustrations are colorful and endearing, and include a few surprise visual choices that are simply inspired comedically (especially during the meeting with the Easter Bunny). The resolution is both pleasingly logical and heartwarming, the length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ and I both had a blast. If you’re looking for an entertaining and unique nondenominational Easter book, this may be the one for you. We recommend it, 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.)

Pokko And The Drum (Matthew Forsythe)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Pokko And The Drum by Matthew Forsythe, a cheeky tale of a blooming percussionist.

Pokko the frog receives a gift from her parents: a drum (it is a terrible mistake on their part). She proves to be quite the prodigy, though her father requests that she move her rehearsals outside. He also requests that she not make too much noise; they are a simple frog family living in a little mushroom, and don’t want to attract too much attention. Drumming quietly to keep herself company, Pokko is surprised when a banjo-playing raccoon joins her tune. Playing a bit louder, she attracts more company, in the form of of a trumpeter rabbit and a music-enthusiast wolf (though the wolf earns a stern warning from Pokko when he eats the rabbit: “No more eating band members or you’re out of the band”). Pokko’s talent attracts more and more musicians and fans, until she is leading a massive parade… right toward her quiet little mushroom home.

What a marvelously bizarre and uplifting tale. With the exception of one slightly dark joke – the wolf’s consumption of the rabbit is not graphic, but certainly jarring in an otherwise innocuous tale – Pokko’s story is one that expertly blends deadpan comedy with a sweet message about supporting talent and the power of music. The beautifully colorful and retro-inspired illustrations are equally appealing, and the well-designed characters and visual gags add to the absurdity. The length was perfect, and JJ absolutely adored the artwork. This is a strange one, to be sure, but it leaves readers with a smile and a warm heart – we loved 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.)

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!

Nanette’s Baguette (Mo Willems)

Hello, everyone! Our book today is Nanette’s Baguette, the latest book by the incomparable Mo Willems, an adorable exercise in rhyme with a lot of humor and heart.

Nanette loves baguettes. Today, Nanette’s mother will finally let Nanette get the baguette from the baker, Juliette. Is Nanette set? You bet! But what happens when Nanette’s love for baguettes gets the best of her? Will she regret her actions? Will her mother fret? What can Nanette do?

Once again, Willems creates an adorable set of characters, and a fun yet meaningful story. The wordplay is so entertaining, and creative enough that it remains fresh throughout the book, which is especially great because this book is MEANT to be read aloud. The paper-art illustrations are charming and full of personality, and the plot goes beyond the humor to include a few genuinely touching moments. The length is fine for baby bookworms, and JJ absolutely adored it. Another Mo Willems gem for readers of all ages. Baby Bookworm approved!