Thunder Pug (Kim Norman)

Hello, friends! Our book for today is Thunder Pug, written by Kim Norman and illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi, a sweet follow-up to the duo’s Puddle Pug.

Percy the pug and Petunia the pig are pretty great pals. Sometimes they like to do the same thing, like play in puddles, leave trails in fields, or blow dandelion puffs together. And sometimes they like to do separate things, such as when Petunia goes off to compete at the county fair. When she returns with a spiffy blue ribbon, Percy is so proud! So are all the other animals on the farm; in fact, Petunia suddenly seems to be flooded with fans at all times, and Percy is getting less and less alone time with his friend. Feeling lonely, Percy comes across a comic book for Thunder Man, who helps people and wears something just as spiffy as a ribbon – a cape! Procuring a cape of his own, Percy sets out to help his fellow critter, providing assistance to creatures great and small. Still, while his heroics keep him busy, he misses his friend… but a plucky pink sidekick is ready to join him in his adventures!

Delightful! The story nicely handles a common hurdle to friendship: balancing time together and separate interests, plus learning to share friends with others. The story sets the stage for this nicely by showing how friends can have separate interests, and then expands to include separate friendships as well – it reminds young readers that the strongest friendships are those that allow both parties the freedom to try new things, meet new people, and find new passions, all while supporting and connecting with each other over the things they share. The sunny illustrations and charming characters do a great job of conveying moods – loneliness, excitement, contentment, etc. The length is great, and JJ loved it. A healthy and helpful lesson in being a good friend, 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.)

Business Pig (Andrea Zuill)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Business Pig by Andrea Zuill, an adorable story about being different.

When Jelly Bean the sow welcomes a litter of piglets to Sunshine Sanctuary for farm animals, it’s pretty clear from the start that one of them is different. Decked out in a suit and tie and standing on two legs, one of the caretakers proclaims the piglet to be a “gen-u-wine” business pig, and a young volunteer names him Jasper. Jasper has some trouble fitting in with his siblings; he’s not a fan of rooting for for food or wallowing in mud. So the volunteers and the rest of the farm animals do what they can to make him feel loved, setting up an office space for him to do the sanctuary’s bookkeeping and watching his meeting presentations with gusto. Still, Jasper wishes he could find a position with someone who can share his love of corporate life… and maybe a loving home too.

Absolutely delightful. The story and art display such a wonderful balance of humor and heart, wrapped around a wholly original story with a timeless lesson: there’s someone for all of us. Jasper is unbelievably cute in his black suit with coffee cup in hand, and Zuill expertly uses scale and expression to make him instantly lovable. The text is dry and heartfelt in turns, and exactly when it needs to be. The length was great, and JJ adored the little pig. This was a simply charming read, 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.)

The True Adventures Of Esther The Wonder Pig (Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter & Caprice Crane)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The True Adventures Of Esther The Wonder Pig, written by Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter and Caprice Crane, and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld, the delightful true story of the porcine social media star.

Esther was rescued by her two dads when she was just a baby, and from the moment she looked at them with THOSE eyes and THAT smile, they knew it was love. Esther’s dads brought her into their small home, already filled with two dogs and two cats but just big enough for the supposed miniature pig as well. But as Esther began to grow, and GROW, her daddies began to wonder if she was really a miniature pig at all! In the meantime, clever and affectionate Esther was spent her time learning, playing, and getting into mischief. Finally, when she reached over 600lbs(!), her dads decided to move the family to the country, where Esther’s family could help even more animals, and Esther would have plenty of room. And while she still got into mischief, her family was happy – because no matter the size or shape, all that you need to make a family is love.

So adorable. Esther is a well-known social media star, and her story translates well to picture book format, making for a fun real-life entry to the “unusual pet” genre. The typical story beats are here – silly, sometimes destructive antics, finding ways to deal with unusual problems, etc – made all the more enjoyable by knowing that the events really occurred. There’s also a nice nod to non-traditional families, wisely kept subtle (as the family in question is largely pets) but still present. Even the fact that Esther has two dads is treated with refreshing normalcy. The illustrations are fantastic, and readers of all ages will fall in love with the bright-eyed characters. The length was great, and JJ adored it, so this one is definitely Baby Bookworm approved!

Piggy And Plants (Allison Remy Hall)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Piggy And Plants, written by Allison Remy Hall and illustrated by Samuel Pullin, a cozy and sweet story of a green-thumbed little pig caring for his garden through the seasons.

Our story follows the quiet gardener Piggy through the four seasons, split into four miniature stories for each one. In summer, Piggy wakes late one night to sip sweet tea and watch his night-blossoming cactus’s first bloom. In autumn, the little gardener is pleasantly surprised to find a delicious mushroom has taken up in his geranium pot. In winter, Piggy and his duck friend, Kak, enjoy a snowy day inside Piggy’s warm plant nursery. And in spring, Kak gifts Piggy with three pots of surprise seedlings to tend.

Of all the self-published books that have been submitted to us, this is one of our favorites. Piggy and his plants are positively charming in a gentle, warm way that puts a smile on the reader’s face from the first page. The language, rhythm, and content of the text sets a peaceful, soothing tone, reminiscent of the quiet and meditative work of plant care, all while exploring each season through the world of a gardener. The original oil painting art is a treat, creating precious characters, fresh gardenscapes, and snug interiors. The cover might have been a bit more distinct if the title, author, and illustrator information had been integrated, but the length is fine, and JJ really enjoyed the little pig and duck. A lovely tale for little readers, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Pug & Pig: Trick-Or-Treat (Sue Lowell Gallion)

Hello, friends! Happy October! We’re starting off the Halloween season with a review of the delightfully fun Pug & Pig: Trick-Or-Treat, written by Sue Lowell Gallion and illustrated by Joyce Wan.

In this spooky sequel, Pug and Pig are back and getting ready for the holiday: their house is decorated, their yard has a scarecrow, and they have their own personalized pumpkins. They even have matching costumes: skeleton suits with masks. Pig loves his costume! It hugs her and her round tummy, and she likes that the mask disguises her. Pug, however, is less thrilled. He does like the way the leotard squishes him, and hates that the mask hides who he is. Fed up, Pug shreds his costume into pieces all over the yard and decides he’s done with Halloween. This makes Pig sad: she was looking forward to her first Halloween and doing all the fun activities with her very best friend. Can the two find a compromise so that they can both enjoy the holiday?

This was a great follow-up to the relentlessly charming Pug Meets Pig. The adorably unlikely pals are back in all their Kawaii-inspired glory, looking so cute and cuddly on each page that you want to reach out and snuggle them. The story is great, too: the two find a good compromise wherein Pig has her friend to trick-or-treat with, but Pug feels comfortable in what he’s wearing. The length is perfect, and JJ loves the darling duo. This one is a great way to celebrate the holiday while teaching a lesson in friendship and compromise, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved! 

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