The Things That I Love About Trees (Chris Butterworth)

Hello friends! Our book today is The Things That I Love About Trees, written by Chris Butterworth and illustrated by Charlotte Voake, a meditative ode to trees throughout the seasons.

A little girl and her friends spend time throughout the year playing among the trees and appreciating what makes them so lovely in each season. In the spring, their buds and blossoms begin to start, and change is in the air. By summer, their leaves are full and shady; in autumn, they turn every color and begin to fall. And in winter, they are quiet and still, and you can see all the way up to their tops. In addition to the girl’s musings, the reader is also treated to facts about trees on each page, so they can find their things to love about trees as well.

Informative and stunningly illustrated. While the story structure and contemplations of the girl hit fairly familiar beats on the subject, the intricate, sweeping art is what sets this book apart. The trees are so sumptuous and splendidly illustrated that it feels as if you can see them moving in the breeze, or hear the whispers and cracks of their branches, leaves, and bark. The factoids are fun too, providing basic trivia on trees and their seasonal cycles for little bookworms. The length is fine, and JJ loved the art. Equal parts science and poetry, and we enjoyed it very much. 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.)

Over And Under The Snow (Kate Messner)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Over And Under The Snow, written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal, a look at the wondrous natural habitats that animals form during snowy winter.

A little girl and her father cross-country ski through a quiet wood, the trees bare and the ground covered in pure white snow. The girl sees a red squirrel disappear through a snowbank, and asks her father where the squirrel went. “Under The Snow,” he replies. As the girl and her father continue on their trek, they spot tracks and animals making their way through the frozen forest, while the reader is shown the animals who have made their shelter beneath the snowdrifts and the girl’s very feet.

This was a really pretty book with a lot of interesting information about how animals’ habitats can change in snowy climates. Between the tranquil, understated text that describes the activity above and below the snow and the serene simplicity of the mixed-media illustrations, the story achieves an almost meditative quality that is very soothing. For curious little readers, there is an informative appendix that expands on the information about the animals and habitats introduced throughout the book. The length is good, though I will say that the calmness of the text and the mostly-winter whites palette did not seem to hold JJ’s attention for long. This one would be best for slightly older bookworms, especially those interested in nature – animal lovers will treasure the gorgeous art and informative text. Overall, a lovely look at winter creatures, and Baby Bookworm approved!

In The Middle Of Fall (Kevin Henkes)

Hello, friends! Our book today is In The Middle Of Fall, written by Kevin Henkes and illustrated by Laura Dronzek, a lovely meditation on the magical time of year when nature is filled with the color of fall.

There is a time that comes only once a year… a short time between the air growing cooler and the ice coming in, between the chittering of animals and the silence of snowfall, between the bright green of leaves on the tree and the naked branches reaching into a blank white sky. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it time, but if you’re paying attention, there’s ripe round pumpkins and apples, busy squirrels, and a cool gray sky. And occasionally, when the wind stirs up just right, the world becomes a riotous flutter of reds and yellows and oranges and browns that leap from the treetops to dance and settle on the ground.

This is a quiet and very mellow book about autumn, and I really liked it. The text is minimal and contemplative, and very soothing to read aloud, considering and celebrating just a handful of fall things and colors in a reverent sort of tone. The art compliments this perfectly, capturing the elements of fall in a soft autumnal palette that rises and falls with the gentle narrative of the words. The length is fine, and JJ and I both enjoyed it. A tranquil exploration of the beauty of autumn, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Little Elliot, Fall Friends (Mike Curato)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the latest in the positively charming Little Elliot series: Little Elliot, Fall Friends by Mike Curato. In this newest adventure, Elliot and Mouse enjoy the wonders of fall, and find some new friends along the way.

Little Elliot the elephant and his very best friend Mouse love living in the big city, but sometimes even they need a break from the noise and dirt and crowds. So one day, the pair decide to take a bus trip up to the country to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. The countryside is everything they hoped for and more: there’s beautiful scenery, delicious treats, and plenty of space and quiet to enjoy each other’s company. The pair decide to play a game of hide-and-seek, and after a few rounds, Elliot finds the perfect hiding spot. Perhaps a little TOO perfect, in fact. Hours pass without Mouse finding him, and Little Elliot begins to grow scared. Can he find his friend again in the great big countryside?

Once again, Curato has brought a lovely story and gorgeous art together to create a wonderful storybook for the eyes and ears. While the previous Little Elliot books deal with slightly more serious themes (loneliness, family, overcoming fears, etc), this one is almost entirely simple fun and a celebration of autumn. The main conflict is resolved quickly, which gives the rest of the book plenty of time to focus on pumpkins, fall leaves, delicious foods, and friends and family coming together. The art is as beautiful as always, placing the adorable characters of Elliot and Mouse in stunning environments, this time using a soft autumnal palette that’s a feast for the eyes. The length is great, and JJ and I both loved it. A wonderful addition to one of our favorite series, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!