I Love You For Miles And Miles (Alison Goldberg)

Hello, friends! Our book today is I Love You For Miles And Miles, written by Alison Goldberg and illustrated by Mike Yamada, a unique vehicle-themed ode to the love between a mother and child.

A mother bear and her cub (no gender is specified for the latter) have a bond like no other. Her love for her baby is longer than the longest train, whose cars can stretch for miles and miles. It’s faster than the fastest fire truck, rushing to the rescue whenever she’s needed. It’s bigger than the biggest truck, and higher than the highest airplane, and steadier than the steadiest tugboat. And just like the vehicles, it’s always up to the task of helping, protecting, and caring for her little one.

This was pretty darn cute. Motherly love is certainly a theme that has no shortage of picture books, but I liked the twist of using big vehicles to describe a mother’s love – rather than a father’s – to a child of no specific gender. Big vehicle books are often geared towards boys only, and it’s nice that there’s some flexibility here that allows for girls and moms to learn about vehicles while celebrating parental bonds. The illustrations are fine, highlighting the vehicles and the bears’ relationship in visually energetic ways and mostly bright colors. The length is good too, and JJ liked it, so this one is Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Coat Of Many Colors (Dolly Parton)

Hello, friends! Today’s review is Coat Of Many Colors, written by Dolly Parton (based on the lyrics of her 1971 song of the same name) and illustrated by Brooke Boynton-Hughes.  

A little girl’s mother is given a box of small fabric scraps, and begins to make the girl a winter coat using the tiny pieces of fabric. The girl’s parents have many children and money is tight, but as the mother lovingly sews the garment, we see the closeness and joy the family shares despite their meager surroundings. While the coat is being sewn, the mother tells the girl the biblical story of Joseph and sings her songs, and the girl watches as her mother carefully makes each stitch to last. When the coat is finished, she is excited to wear it to school – but when she arrives, some of the children make fun of her patchwork clothing. The girl is hurt at first, but refuses to let the taunts of the children spoil the coat for her. She tells the other children that the coat is a symbol of her mother’s love and dedication to her children and, as such, she is proud of her coat of many colors.

We’ve read a lot of song-lyrics-as-picture-books in the last year, and I must say, this is probably the one that we enjoyed the most. Parton’s song translates perfectly to kidlit form: the lyrics truly tell a story, and it leaves a powerful message about family and the value of kindness and love over material wealth. It’s also a very touching testament to motherly love in both tangible and intangible form. The art in this version is charming, showing vibrant warmth and joy on every page. The length is great, and JJ and I both really enjoyed it. This one is a must for Dolly fans, but is also perfect for showing all little readers that money is not the mark of true wealth; sometimes, it’s a simple coat, made with a mother’s love. Baby Bookworm approved!

That’s Me Loving You (Amy Krouse Rosenthal)

Hello, friends! Sorry we missed our review yesterday, but JJ was having fun at her best friend’s birthday party. But we’re back, and today we’re reviewing the lovely That’s Me Loving You, written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Teagan White, a beautiful story of a mother’s everlasting love for her child.

Written in rhyming text, the narrator speaks to her child about how a mother’s love always surrounds her them, even when the mommy isn’t there. A shining star is her wink. A clap of thunder is her cheering her child on. A soft breeze is blown kisses, and a butterfly’s wings are her hugs. So no matter where her child goes, no matter how long or how far, they can know that their mama is always with them, loving them.

What a sweet, timeless sentiment, and wonderfully executed. A mother’s unconditional love is always a classic subject for a book, but the notion that reminders of this love are in the world all around us makes this a special story with a great takeaway lesson for little ones. But what really steals the show is the absolutely darling art, showing each gesture of motherly affection to a different child, each illustration filled with sweet innocence and charm. The length is perfect, and while the ending is a bit abrupt, JJ and I both loved this one. A lovely story for mommies to share with their little readers, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Love Is (Diane Adams)

Hello, friends! For our last book of February, we picked Love Is, written by Diane Adams and illustrated by Claire Keane, a gorgeous and touching story about parenthood.

Told in delicate rhyme, the story follows a little girl who finds a lost duckling, taking her in and caring for her. Through midnight feedings, messy bathtimes, and playful and quiet moments both, the reader watches the bond between the girl and her pet grow, just as the duckling does. Soon, it is time for her beloved duckling to move on to a bigger pond. And while she misses her little yellow friend, she knows that their love will always remain, and even grow.

I completely teared up at this one. On the surface, the tale of little girl and her tiny duckling is the story of the work and care that goes into both friendship and beloved pet. Yet adult readers do not have to look far below the surface to find a moving allegory for a parent’s love: dealing with the joys, frustrations and heartbreaks of watching your tiny love grow and change and, eventually, move on to the bigger world. Keane’s illustrations are as charming as always, with her color palette for Love Is being fondly reminiscent of children’s books from the early mid-century, which gives the art a lovely, nostalgic touch. The rhythm of the text is great, and the length is perfect, and JJ loved the story and the bright yellow ducks. This one is all heart, and might even bring a sentimental tear to your eye. We absolutely loved it, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Still My Mommy (Megan Pomputius)

Hello, friends. Today, we read the book Still My Mommy, written by Megan Pomputius and illustrated by Andrea Alemanno, a story about a young girl dealing with a parent’s illness.

There once was a little girl whose mommy called her Supergirl, and they would spend lots of fun times together: reading books, running through the sprinkler, and learning how to write the letters of the alphabet. But one day, the little girl’s mommy gets very sick. Mommy must go on medicine that will make her tired and make her lose her hair. Still, no matter how different she may look, she will always love being with her little girl, because she’s still Mommy.

This is a very sweet book for all readers, but especially for children going through a family member’s illness (Pomputius based the book on her own fight against ovarian cancer). The message is simple but powerful: illness may change the people we love physically, mentally, or emotionally, but they are always the same person underneath. The book also covers some of the scary parts of chemotherapy, like losing hair, tactfully and simply enough for young children to understand. The illustrations have a nice, subdued quality that matches the text and subject matter well, and the length is fine for baby bookworms. Overall, this is an impressive book that takes on a difficult subject with grace and can help children during a confusing time in their family’s life. Baby Bookworm approved.