Milo’s Moonlight Mission (Kathleen M. Blasi)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Milo’s Moonlight Mission, written by Kathleen M. Blasi and illustrated by Petronela Dostalova, a sweet story of mother, son, and space exploration.

For Milo’s crew of two – him as Captain and Mom as Second-in-Command – there are no space missions too daring or difficult. One afternoon, Captain Milo goes searching for his crew, only to find that she is busy with work. Being a good captain, Milo offers to help Mom with her work and with dinner, even though it means no space missions for today. While cleaning up, Milo overhears a news announcement about an early morning meteor storm. He tells his mom, who only replies that they should turn in for the night. Milo wonders if there’s anything else he can do to help, so that Mom will have time for the meteor storm – but little does he know, his faithful Second-in-Command already has a mission planned…

Very sweet. With a slice-of-life story and warm, tender illustrations, this book tells a simple and heartwarming tale of the bond between parent and child. Milo’s instinct to help him mother as much as possible is contextualized beautifully but the subtle visual indications that she is a single mother and Milo is an only child. Between this and the straightforward and affectionate text, readers get a wonderful sense of the bond between Mom and Milo, one that will feel familiar for any close parent-child pair, but especially for smaller single-parent families. The length is great for a storytime, and JJ enjoyed the art and space theming. Overall, a lovely tale, 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.)

Ocean of Love (Janet Lawler)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Ocean of Love, written by Janet Lawler and illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown, an undersea celebration of the love between mother and child.

Just as they do on land, the moms of the ocean are dedicated to sharing their love with their little ones. Whether it’s a minnow mom picking out just the right “school” for her young, or a mama dolphin playing all day with her pod, or a mother octopus untangling her wee one’s tentacles, there’s no shortage of ways moms can express their love. After all, while there are plenty of creatures in the deep blue sea, no one loves them more than their mamas.

Very cute, if slightly shallow. The classic theme of a mother’s love is a perennial favorite for picture book treatment, and this one does a serviceable job of exploring it with a collection of ocean-dwelling creatures. Most of these depictions are far from accurate visually or scientifically (clams and jellyfish have large and prominent eyes, sharks and hermit crabs care for their young, etc.), which may be confusing for young readers who are not familiar with the animals and/or do not understand the subtle parallels being drawn between the fictional creatures and human mothers. The book’s standout feature is the colorful digital illustrations, with characters designs so adorable that they manage to make even barnacles endearing; I particularly liked the inclusion of a multiracial mother and child pair used for the final spread. The length is fine for an elementary storytime, and JJ enjoyed the artwork a lot. Overall, this one is a little lacking, but still worth the read, especially as an ode to motherly devotion. Baby Bookworm approved.

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

You Are Home (Mackenzie Porter)

Hello, friends! Our book today is You Are Home, written by Mackenzie Porter and illustrated by Xin Li, a sweet board book that explores the special bond between mother and child.

A mother sits in a rocking chair, cuddling her new baby to her chest, keeping the infant safe and warm in her arms. This embrace is the baby’s first “home”, and as the child grows into a toddler, then a preschooler, than beyond, their “home” expands. First it’s a room as they learn to walk; then the outdoors as they explore the world beyond their house. Yet as the world grows larger and more filled with possibility, one constant remains: since a mother’s love follows their child wherever they go, they will always, in a way, be home.

Adorable. This sturdy board book title takes a timeless and universal theme of a mother’s unconditional love and crafts a sweet, simple narrative that young readers and their own mother figures can happily share. The meter of the rhyming text can take a little getting used to, but once you do, this is a great one to read aloud, especially for very small bookworms. Li’s colorful, affectionate illustrations fit the tone of the text perfectly, and each spread is filled with atmosphere and warmth. The length is great for a quick read, and JJ loved the easy-to-read text and engaging artwork. This one would make a lovely gift for new moms, and we really enjoyed 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.)

Sleep, My Baby (Dr. Lena Allen-Shore & Jacques J. M. Shore)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Sleep, My Baby, written by Dr. Lena Allen-Shore and Jacques J. M. Shore, and illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle, an enormously sweet lullaby from parent to child in board book form.

This bedtime serenade, based on a lullaby written by the author’s mother, opens on a mother carrying her baby upstairs in preparation for sleep. From there, the windows of a neighborhood are shown, with more mother-and-child pairs in different skin tones. The lullaby and art then travels the world, showing more cultures and types of caregiver-child bonds, including fathers, multi-generational, blended, and LGBTQ+ families. At last, the story circles back to the first mother and child, showing that there is nothing more universal than the love between parent and child.

Touching and tender. As the author explains in the forward and afterward, Allen-Shore – a multi-talented creator and educator, as well as a Holocaust survivor – created “Sleep, My Baby” as a lullaby for her sons while endeavoring to promote unity and human compassion. The art and simple structure of the text in this interpretation do a lovely job of combining all these themes, creating a bedtime board book that is perfect for the littlest bookworms and their caregivers. While the tune of “Sleep, My Baby” is not familiar (though it can be found online), the lyrics still work fine in spoken-word form, and the diverse illustrations in soft, dreamy twilight colors are soothing yet packed with detail. The length is perfect for bedtime, and JJ and I both loved it. This one was a treat, and we highly 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.)

Little Whale (Jo Weaver)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Little Whale by Jo Weaver, a sweet tale of family, perseverance, and a mother’s love.

The seasons have changed, and a mother gray whale and her new calf must travel north to their pod’s feeding grounds. The little whale is making the journey for the first time, and is trepidatious – how long will the journey take? How far must they swim? Yet the calf’s mother assures her child that she will lead the way. Along the trip, the pair see majestic and wonderful sights, and face dangers and exhaustion as they swim ever onward. Yet no matter what they encounter, Mother Whale encourages her baby gently and lovingly, promising that she will never leave Little Whale’s side. At last, after a long and harrowing journey, the two hear the songs of their family calling them home to the feeding grounds of their ancestors.

Peaceful. Weaver’s nature tales of mother-and-child (Little One, Little Tigers) are among our favorites for their soothing tone and stunning artwork, and this one does not disappoint. Weaver’s charcoal illustrations capture the dreamy, endlessly deep blue of the ocean and the world within it, from dark kelp forests teeming with life to a boundless starry sky. The text is calm and peaceful, even in its moments of drama; the reader feels just as comforted by Mother Whale’s words of reassurance as her calf. The length is perfect for any storytime, and JJ was fascinated by the beautiful illustrations. A tranquil tale of motherly love, 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.)