Logan’s Greenhouse (JaNay Brown-Wood)

Hello friends! Our book today is Logan’s Greenhouse, written by JaNay Brown-Wood, and illustrated by Samara Hardy, a lighthearted lesson in produce with a lovely side-serving of disability representation.

Logan is searching his winter greenhouse for carrots; he’s planning to harvest them for his pet play date, where he and his parents will be serving both human and four-legged friends. With the aide of his trusty pet chameleon, Logan searches the greenhouse high and low, comparing the characteristics of each fruit and veggie he encounters with what he knows about carrots – but to no avail. But at the last moment, Logan and the reader (with the help of the chameleon) are able to spot the crunchy carrots, just in time for them to be pulled and prepared for a healthy (and pet-friendly) feast.

Delightful. On the surface, this simple and straightforward story engages readers by allowing them to compare and contrast the features of growing carrots (they grow down from their seed, have textured orange skin, bushy leaves, etc.) with the features of other fruits and veggies growing in the greenhouse. This approach nicely accomplishes educating kids on the growth of various edible garden treats and, with the addition of the illustrations, what those growing plants look like. This in itself makes for a fun read, but what makes the story stand out is its protagonist using adaptive devices, including a manual wheelchair and grabber, without the story centering around it or even calling attention to them. It is exceptionally rare for a picture book to feature a wheelchair user as its main character without the story also being about their disability, so this inclusion of representation is an added treat that makes this title all the sweeter. The length is perfect for an elementary storytime, and JJ enjoyed learning about the produce (and making herself laugh by insisting that ripe oranges could be mistaken for carrots). Overall, definitely one to check out, especially when learning about where our fresh produce comes from. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

10 Hungry Rabbits (Anita Lobel)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the 10th anniversary reprint of 10 Hungry Rabbits by Anita Lobel, a sweet and simple picture book of numbers, colors, and vegetables.

Ten little rabbits are very, very, VERY hungry! But there are no vegetables in the house for Mama Rabbit’s soup pot! Papa Rabbit encourages the ten little bunnies to head out to the garden and see what they can find. Each bunny finds a different veggie or berry, in increasing numbers and of various colors, allowing Mama and Papa to fix them all a delicious dinner.

Deliciously delightful. Sometimes the simplest concepts work the best, and this colorful combination of color, counting, and produce identification is a perfect example. Utilizing soft, folksy artwork and approachable text, Lobel creates an easy-to-read story for young bookworms that covers a trio of early-learning concepts. The oversized close-up illustrations of the vegetables are especially cool, as is the fact that both Mama and Papa Rabbit help to prepare the meal for their children. The length is great for a quick storytime, and JJ (an aspiring green thumb) really enjoyed this one. Overall, a lovely 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.)

The Bear’s Garden (Marcie Colleen)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Bear’s Garden, written by Marcie Colleen and illustrated by Alison Oliver, a tender ode to the importance of greenspaces.

In a darkish, grayish city, where it seems everyone is rushing off to somewhere, there lived a little girl and her bear. And while other people seemed content to keep their heads down and ignore the neglected and empty spaces between the buildings, the little girl couldn’t help but imagine her city as a magical place, full of potential for things to grow and blossom. The little girl plants a dandelion seed in a can, but the can tips over and falls to the ground… yet the flower takes root in the concrete itself! Nurturing her little seedling with water, love, and even a garden party, it blooms and spreads more seeds in the empty lot. Passersby begin to notice the greening space and the little girl’s dedication to her plants, and it warms their hearts. Soon, the girl must travel away for a while, and she becomes concerned that, in her absence, the garden will suffer. So she leaves her trusty bear in charge to watch over her small blooms. And when she returns, she finds that something even bigger than her flowers have taken root…

Lovely. This darling tale, inspired by the Pacific Street Brooklyn Bear’s Community Garden, is a gentle and meditative look at the importance that greenery and growth can have to not just one person, but entire communities. Drawn with simple illustrations and characters, the artwork deftly plays with dark, light, and color to show how the community grows together as their garden takes shape. The text is soothing and sweet, and makes this one ideal for storytime or a bedtime read. The length is perfect for any age, and JJ really enjoyed the story and art. A comforting and inspirational tale that any green thumb will enjoy, 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.)

Romeo Explores The Garden (Alain Grée)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Romeo Explores The Garden by Alain Grée, an interactive book that explores the nature in our backyards.

Following the titular Romeo, a friendly anthropomorphic dog, the reader is taken along on a series of question-and-answers as he explores the garden. On each page, a question about a common garden creature or plant is asked (trees, flowers, bumbles, etc.), then the answer provided on the following page.

Pretty cute. The concept is fairly familiar but still well done, and the question-and-answer format is a nice element for reader engagement. The illustrations – made up primarily from reused images of Grée’s work in the 60’s and 70’s – has its positives and negatives. While the diversity of skin tones and classic storybook art style is cheerful and pleasant, there are pages where the repurposing is visually unappealing: one farmer squashed horizontally to fit inside a greenhouse looks bizarre, and a spread of cobbled-together frogs with a half-dozen different character designs is a visual mess. Also, one of the Q&A’s about hedgehogs may puzzle kids from the americas, where they’re a lot less likely to be found nosing around a garden. Otherwise, this is sweet board book with a good length,and JJ seemed to enjoy it. A little uneven perhaps, but it means well. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Piggy And Plants (Allison Remy Hall)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Piggy And Plants, written by Allison Remy Hall and illustrated by Samuel Pullin, a cozy and sweet story of a green-thumbed little pig caring for his garden through the seasons.

Our story follows the quiet gardener Piggy through the four seasons, split into four miniature stories for each one. In summer, Piggy wakes late one night to sip sweet tea and watch his night-blossoming cactus’s first bloom. In autumn, the little gardener is pleasantly surprised to find a delicious mushroom has taken up in his geranium pot. In winter, Piggy and his duck friend, Kak, enjoy a snowy day inside Piggy’s warm plant nursery. And in spring, Kak gifts Piggy with three pots of surprise seedlings to tend.

Of all the self-published books that have been submitted to us, this is one of our favorites. Piggy and his plants are positively charming in a gentle, warm way that puts a smile on the reader’s face from the first page. The language, rhythm, and content of the text sets a peaceful, soothing tone, reminiscent of the quiet and meditative work of plant care, all while exploring each season through the world of a gardener. The original oil painting art is a treat, creating precious characters, fresh gardenscapes, and snug interiors. The cover might have been a bit more distinct if the title, author, and illustrator information had been integrated, but the length is fine, and JJ really enjoyed the little pig and duck. A lovely tale for little readers, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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