Feast of Peas (Kashmira Sheth)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Feast of Peas, written by Kashmira Sheth and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler, a fable of mystery, deception, and vegetables.

Once upon a time in India, there was a humble man named Jiva, who worked in his garden all day to grow fresh vegetables. And among his okra and eggplants and beans, it was his pea plants he loved the best. He lovingly fusses over the little plants as they sprout, then blossom, then become tiny peapods, all the while singing a song of his excitement for his pea harvest. Yet when the day comes to harvest his peas, they are missing from the vine! Jiva’s friend Ruvji suggests that rabbits have stolen the peas, so Jiva builds a fence to protect his next crop… which also goes missing! Who is taking his beloved peas?! Jiva has a sneaking suspicion, and he’ll have to lay a clever trap to catch them in the act…

Fun! The mystery itself is a clever one, especially in the way the third act reveal plays out. Spoiler alert: Ruvji is stealing the peas and lying to his friend, and when caught, Jiva asks him to cook a feast of peas as penance. The food prepared looks absolutely scrumptious, and may convince little ones who avoid their peas to look at them in a new light. My only quibble is how quickly Ruvji is forgiven for his transgressions, which feel a lot crueler considering that he knows how much my friend Jiva loves his plants. Otherwise, lovely illustrations bring characters and backdrops to life, and are wonderfully infused with Indian culture and scenery. The length is best for ages 5 and up, though JJ was delighted with the repeated “feast of peas” song. It’s a unique book with a lot of magic going for it, and we 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.)

Hap-pea All Year (Keith Baker)

Hello, friends! Today, we read Hap-pea All Year by Keith Baker, a pod-sitively charming look at the calendar with some very sweet peas.

Starting with January, each two-page spread is dedicated to a short rhyme about each calendar month, accompanied by a bowlful of cheerful little peas celebrating the season and holidays of that month. After each month has been introduced, the calendar comes together to wish the reader a very hap-pea new year!

A simple book with a simple concept, yet joyfully and exuberantly executed. The rhymes are short and bouncy, and lots of fun to read to little ones. The art is the real star of the show, though, as Baker creates a whole world on each page with his cast of tiny peas, each one filled with its own personality. This makes it a great book for re-reading: Short and breezy enough for a quick story, but filled with wonderfully detailed illustrations that can be closely examined and fuel young imaginations. JJ loved this one, and the length and subject, even the size of the book, make it perfect for babies and toddlers. This one’s a winner! Baby Bookworm approved!