Hello Sacred Life & Hello Sacred Creatures (Kim Krans)

Hello, friends! Our books today are Hello Sacred Life and Hello Sacred Creatures by Kim Krans, a set of mystic-themed board books that explore the wonders of the natural world.

Hello, sacred honey bee. Hello, sacred sun. Using simple salutatory phrases and strikingly vivid artwork, this set of board books takes a peaceful journey through nature for the youngest of bookworms. In Hello Sacred Life, readers greet elemental facets of nature, such as the moon, water, fire, darkness, and light. In Hello Sacred Creatures, readers meet a number of beautiful creatures of the earth, like giraffes, penguins, hummingbirds, and polar bears.

Very pretty. Known for her popular The Wild Unknown series of artwork and oracle decks, Krans uses her style of highly-detailed line illustrations over riotously brilliant watercolor backgrounds to create a visual treat for readers young and old. While the text is not particularly substantive, the art is engaging and rich, and feels very unique to the genre. For families whose spirituality leans towards the natural world, these titles will be especially valuable, as both emphasize the sanctity of nature. One quibble: the back cover description of Sacred Creatures describes the featured species as “endangered,” though only a fragment of them are actually classified as such; it’s slightly misleading, especially for those who might be in search of titles that cover endangered or threatened species. Otherwise, these are beautiful and vibrant books that little ones will enjoy; the lengths are perfect for very quick storytimes, and JJ liked them both a lot. We absolutely recommend them – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of these books were provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Let’s Go Outside! (Ben Lerwill & Marina Ruiz)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Let’s Go Outside! by Ben Lerwill and Marina Ruiz, a lovely ode to the great outdoors and the time spent in it.

Let’s go outside. There’s a great big wide world of nature out there to see and experience, and we can start in our own backyards and neighborhoods. From there, we can travel to beaches and forests, windy cliffs and sunny fields. We can look at and listen for and learn about wild creatures big and small, or build forts, or splash in puddles. And when we return home, we can cozy up with the memories of our day spent outside, and look forward to the next.

Delightful. With charming artwork and simple persuasive sentences. Lerwill and Ruiz create a title that encourages young readers to explore all that the outdoors has to offer. By appealing to nature lovers, adventurers, and the scientifically curious – and any combination thereof – little ones are reminded off all the incredible things that can found and experienced outside. The artwork is particularly gorgeous, both enticing with its nature scenes and representative of a variety of skintones and hair types; several characters wear glasses, one uses a wheelchair. An engaging afterward prompts readers to think about and experience the outdoors in new ways. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ liked this one a lot. Overall, a great way to encourage little ones to get out and play, and 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.)

All You Need (Howard Schwartz)

Hello, friends! Sorry we missed you the past few days – we had some family commitments that we couldn’t miss. To make it up to you, we have two special weekend reviews today and tomorrow! Our book today is All You Need, written by Howard Schwartz and illustrated by Jasu Hu, a beautiful ode to the simple necessities of life.

“All you need,” the spare verse begins, weaving a quiet contemplation of the things one needs for life. A planet, a warm sun, clouds to gather rains, trees to clean the air. Good food, fresh water, plenty of sleep. A land of welcome and people to watch over you. The freedom and ability to share your lovely thoughts and the beating heart to give you life. What a person truly needs is simple, really – life, love, health, and joy.

Beautiful. Schwartz and Hu do something rare here: telling two different stories through the text and art that weave together beautifully in theme and tone. Schwartz’s uncomplicated free verse poetry highlights the theme of simplicity, neatly choosing a list of needs that is both almost entirely accurate and evocative of emotion. The story Hu tells with the stunning watercolor artwork reflects the early life story of a young child in China, growing amongst beautiful scenery and loving family before striking out into adulthood, yet maintaining a connection to home. These elements all combine to tell a heartwarming story about life, connection, nature, culture, and love, and the result is breathtaking. The length is great for a storytime at any age, and JJ adored the dreamlike artwork and easy-to-read text. Overall, this one is an absolute work of art, and 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.)

Be Thankful for Trees: A Tribute to the Many & Surprising Ways Trees Relate to Our Lives (Harriet Ziefart & Brian Fitzgerald)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Be Thankful for Trees: A Tribute to the Many & Surprising Ways Trees Relate to Our Lives by Harriet Ziefart and Brian Fitzgerald, a wonderful look at the integral part that trees play in all of our lives.

What would life be without trees? Well, just think of all the things we wouldn’t have if there were no more trees. There wouldn’t be cellos or pianos for music, and there wouldn’t be tree fruits or nuts to munch. There wouldn’t be homes for owls or birds, or paper to make art or books, or lumber for dining room tables or comfy chairs. Trees give us so much, and that’s why we must protect them, especially from man-made threats.

Fantastic! This loving ode to the many gifts given to humanity by trees manages to condense a great amount of concepts and information on our leafy pals into a charming and fun-to-read book. Ziefert’s bright, rhyming text makes for a quick read, despite the longer page count, and utilizes engaging elements like repetition to draw in young readers (JJ was gleefully parroting the repeated phrase “It would not!” by the third use). Fitzgerald’s digital illustrations capture an incredible range of atmospheres, from peaceful to dynamic, and feature a very nice diversity of skintones, ages, and body types. The length was great for an elementary storytime, and JJ loved it. Overall, this is a great way to begin a conversation on the importance of trees, and the importance of protecting them. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Acorn Was a Little Wild (Jen Arena)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Acorn Was a Little Wild, written by Jen Arena and illustrated by Jessica Gibson, a playful tale of one very adventurous young seed.

Acorn was the first of his generation to take a flying leap from the tree. The great oak warned him not to, that squirrels would get him, but Acorn didn’t care – he was ready for an adventure. This began the little seed’s journey into the wider world, filled with ups, downs, a plenty of surprises along the way. What will become of our little acorn? Will the squirrels get him after all? Or is he destined for something more.

Positively delightful. Acorn’s entrance into the unknown is amusing and heartening, especially when viewed as a metaphor for a child striking out on their own. What makes this narrative especially enjoyable, however, is Acorn’s unflappable optimism and zest for life, even in times of trouble. It keeps the tone funny and cheerful, encouraging an adventurous spirit and a sunny outlook to young readers. Arena’s text is energetic and fun to read aloud, and Gibson’s cartoonish naturescapes give lively personality to every plant and creature. The length is perfect for any storytime, and JJ had a ton of fun with this one. Overall, an absolute 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.)