Winter Lullaby (Dianne White)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Winter Lullaby, written by Dianne White and illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki, a sweet tale of a bear family and the approach of winter.

The autumn in coming to a close and the air is crisp and cold, so Mama Bear calls for her little one to prepare for sleep. Seeing other animals like mouse, raccoon, skunk, and others scurrying about on the fallen snow, Small Bear asks why they must go to sleep if the others are all staying up. Mama Bear patiently explains that all the other animals are making their own last-minute preparations before going into hibernation themselves, just like bears do. She promises that when spring comes and the world is green again, they will wake and play. Until then, Mama Bear and Small Bear snuggle in tight and let the warmth of their den and the winter night’s lullabies soothe them to sleep.

A delightful wintertime bedtime tale. Caregivers will easily see the parallels between Small Bear bemoaning the fact that others get to stay up later, and White uses this as a nice way to counteract childhood bedtime FOMO as well as to explore how different animals hibernate over the winter. Kaulitzki’s illustrations are precious, using long lines and a contrast of warmth and cold to create cozy spaces, brisk landscapes, and charming animals, especially the bear families. The switch between regular and bolded text for the dialogue can be a little confusing at times, and two different fonts may have been a better choice. However, everything else works beautifully, and the length is great for a elementary-age storytime. JJ loved the all animals, especially the bond between Mama Bear and Small Bear. Overall, this is a winter bedtime treat that’s perfect for curling up with on cold nights. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

God Is With Us (Amy Parker)

Hello, friends! Unfortunately, Santa brought The Baby Bookworm family a nasty flu for Christmas, so we’re having to play catch-up with some of our holiday titles. But that’s okay – books are fun to read anytime! Our review today is of God Is With Us, written by Amy Parker, and illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki.

The first in the pair’s new God Is series, this biblical-themed board book begins by introducing the reader to different families of animals – mostly parent(s) and child – enjoying a crisp winter evening. An owl clad in a scarf flies with its be-hatted offspring; two mice make snow angels; a mother cat snuggles in with her kitten. Over these scenes, the text informs that God is with us always, not always in ways that we can see, but always in ways that we feel. The story ends on the scene of Jesus’s birth in the manger, showing one of the major ways that God gifted the world with love.

We don’t review a lot of Christian faith-based books (and full disclosure, we are not a religious family), but this one was enjoyable. The primary message – that a higher power is with us in sadness, fear, joy, and everything in between – is comforting and gentle for young readers, and the eventual lead-in to the nativity fits well with the smoothly rhyming text. The adorable animal illustrations are the standout, especially the animals with their tiny hats, coats, mittens, and/or earmuffs, and JJ loved pointing out the different creatures. There is some question on the specific species and even a snowy night being plausible during the birth of Jesus, but that opens a theological can of worms that’s not worth nitpicking over. The book itself has a sweet, kind, gentle tone that can be enjoyed with kids year-round at bedtime. The length is great, and we can definitely recommend this to our followers who are fans of Christian kidlit. Baby Bookworm approved!

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