Logan’s Greenhouse (JaNay Brown-Wood)

Hello friends! Our book today is Logan’s Greenhouse, written by JaNay Brown-Wood, and illustrated by Samara Hardy, a lighthearted lesson in produce with a lovely side-serving of disability representation.

Logan is searching his winter greenhouse for carrots; he’s planning to harvest them for his pet play date, where he and his parents will be serving both human and four-legged friends. With the aide of his trusty pet chameleon, Logan searches the greenhouse high and low, comparing the characteristics of each fruit and veggie he encounters with what he knows about carrots – but to no avail. But at the last moment, Logan and the reader (with the help of the chameleon) are able to spot the crunchy carrots, just in time for them to be pulled and prepared for a healthy (and pet-friendly) feast.

Delightful. On the surface, this simple and straightforward story engages readers by allowing them to compare and contrast the features of growing carrots (they grow down from their seed, have textured orange skin, bushy leaves, etc.) with the features of other fruits and veggies growing in the greenhouse. This approach nicely accomplishes educating kids on the growth of various edible garden treats and, with the addition of the illustrations, what those growing plants look like. This in itself makes for a fun read, but what makes the story stand out is its protagonist using adaptive devices, including a manual wheelchair and grabber, without the story centering around it or even calling attention to them. It is exceptionally rare for a picture book to feature a wheelchair user as its main character without the story also being about their disability, so this inclusion of representation is an added treat that makes this title all the sweeter. The length is perfect for an elementary storytime, and JJ enjoyed learning about the produce (and making herself laugh by insisting that ripe oranges could be mistaken for carrots). Overall, definitely one to check out, especially when learning about where our fresh produce comes from. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Happy Unicorn & Sad Unicorn (Clever Publishing & Samara Hardy)

Hello, friends! Our books today are Happy Unicorn and Sad Unicorn by Clever Publishing and Samara Hardy, the first two titles in the First Feelings series of board books for toddlers.

What can make you happy? What can make you sad? And what can make you feel better? These are the three basic concepts explored through the adventures of Unicorn and her band of animal buddies. Happy Unicorn has a fairly straightforward plot, simply listing things that typically make one happy, such as playing with friends or eating yummy foods. Sad Unicorn expands on this by not only presenting situations that can make us sad – such as disappointing weather or getting a boo-boo – but also ways in which we can help ourselves or others feel better when they’re down.

Fantastic. When it comes to emotional development board boards geared at toddlers, simplicity and entertainment are key, and this series has both. Unicorn and their pals are adorably illustrated with bright colors and expressive design by Hardy, and the scenes and interactive elements are well-utilized to engage the youngest of bookworms. The messages about emotions are similarly noncomplex, yet also encourage healthy emotional management, such as encouraging readers to talk about their negative feelings and consider the emotions of others when interacting with them (for instance, several times, when JJ saw Unicorn supporting a sad friend, she remarked how kind Unicorn was being). The length of each book is perfect for a quick read, and we liked these immensely. Overall, a great way to explore emotions for little ones, and we highly recommend them – Baby Bookworm approved!

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