If Animals Celebrated Christmas (Ann Whitford Paul)

Hello, friends! We’re finishing up our slightly belated Christmas reviews today with the sweet board book version of If Animals Celebrated Christmas, written by Ann Whitford Paul and illustrated by David Walker.

This holiday-themed addition to the author-illustrator pair’s popular series begins with the Koala family, with the youngest of the bunch counting down the days until Christmas comes. More animal families from around the globe are introduced, each with their own special way of celebrating the season: the cranes go caroling, mother hedgehog knits a silly sweater for her little hoglet, the buffalo give nosey kisses under a sprig of mistletoe. The action periodically swings back to the young Koala helping to bake a leafy eucalyptus cake and drape their tree with strands of berries and grapes. At last, everyone is ready for the big night, and the arrival of Santa… Polar Bear Santa that is (naturally)!

Very cute. Each installment of the If Animals series is a sweet treat, and this holiday-centric one is no exception. The cuddly, cartoony animals are lovable, especially decked in winter attire and participating in popular (human) Christmas traditions. The rhyme scheme of the text can be a little unexpected at times, but never so much that it loses the innocent, inoffensive and gentle charm of the tone. JJ enjoyed this one, especially learning a few new or less familiar animal names, such as Oryx or Tortoise (though it’s a bit of a bummer that a fascinating creature like the narwhal was depicted but not named). Overall, this is enjoyable holiday fun, and worth a read. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

If Animals Went To School (Ann Whitford Paul)

Hello, friends! Our book today is If Animals Went To School, written by Ann Whitford Paul and illustrated by David Walker, fourth in the pair’s series of animal what-ifs.

If animals went to school, Beaver would be nervous: “I don’t want to go!” he protests to his father, shuff-shuffling along as Kangaroo bounds by to be the first inside. As Beaver’s first day commences, the other animals in his class go about their activities, from stacking blocks, practicing letters, identifying shapes, sing-a-longs, and storytime, all under the watchful eye of Ms. Cheetah. As the day unfolds, Beaver begins to grow more comfortable with his friends, even joining in their play and learning. At last, when Papa comes to pick him up again, he protests once more: “I don’t want to go,” he whines, stuff-shuffling all the way home.

Very cute. The storyline is that of classic first-day-of-school jitters, with the menagerie of creatures providing gentle laughs and a celebration of all the things that make school fun for little learners. And while the animals’ characteristics are mostly anthropomorphized, there are a few nods to their beastly sides, such as goat chomping down on a book during reading time. The illustrations are light, colorful, and feature an adorable cast of cuddly young animals. The length is fine, and JJ had plenty of giggles for the animals’ antics. Overall, this one was very sweet, 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.)