No Nibbling! (Beth Ferry)

Hello, friends! Our book today is No Nibbling!, written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by A.N. Kang, a tale of unlikely friendship and delicious vegetables.

Derwood the goat is eager for the spring planting of his garden, and spends a warm day digging, seeding, planting, and watering – now to wait. Yet Derwood notices something: the fluffy puff of a dandelion, which sends him into a frenzy of pest- and weed-prevention. The dandelion puff, however, turns out to be the tail of a young bunny, Tabitha, who cheerfully introduces herself and inquires about his crop. Derwood tells her to take a hike, and when she returns to drop hints on the appeal of his growing veggie garden, he repeatedly warns her, “No Nibbling!” Tabitha persists in her overtures of friendship (and compliments of his crop), one day offering to weed the garden so that Derwood can rest. But will the old goat trust the hungry bunny with his precious patch?

Cute. A tale of reluctant friendship between an old goat (here, literally) and a precocious youngster is a pretty classic theme, and Ferry puts a pleasing veggie/gardening spin on it here. Derwood’s turnabout on his opinion of Tabitha feels a little abrupt, but the little bunny is so endearingly sweet that it’s still understandable. A plethora of plant- and vegetable-related puns are worked into the text to great comedic effect, though some may fly over younger readers’ heads (“Romaine calm,” for example). Kang’s delightful illustrations capture the colors and spirit of spring, two very cute characters, and some delicious-looking veggies. The length was great for a storytime, and we enjoyed it overall. Worth a read, and Baby Bookworm approved!

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

The Friendship Surprise (Giorgio Volpe & Paolo Proietti)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Friendship Surprise by Giorgio Volpe and Paolo Proietti, translated by Angus Yuen-Killick, a lovely sequel to the author-illustrator pair’s previous book, Before We Sleep.

Little Red the fox is so excited – his best friend Hazel the dormouse is soon to wake from her winter hibernation, and Little Red is going planning his customary surprise for when she does. He worries though, because while Hazel was hibernating, he made a new friend – Brock the badger – and has been spending lots of time with him. He wonders briefly if his surprise should be introducing the two, but he worries that Hazel will like Brock more than him, and he will lose both friends by bringing them together. He resolves to keep spending time with both friends separately, but this leads to some suspicious behavior that puzzles both besties. How will Little Red resolve his friendship conundrum?

Lovely. Picking up where the heartwarming yet bittersweet Before We Sleep left off, Little Red and Hazel’s new story explores another classic theme of childhood friendship: navigating the meshing of friend groups. Little Red’s specific anxiety – that his two wonderful friends will only want to be friends with each other, pushing him out – gives this theme a fresh and empathetic twist, and one that may especially speak to readers with poor self esteem. It’s wonderful that both Hazel and Brock treat Little Red’s fear with delicacy and sincerity, proving that they are loyal friends. Volpe’s text and Killick’s translation are gentle and endearing, and Proietti’s soft pencil-style illustrations fit the tone and spring season setting perfectly. The length was great for a elementary storytime, and JJ really enjoyed it. Overall, a worthy sequel, and a delight all on its own. 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 Shapes Of Spring (Jill Howarth)

Hello, friends! Hope you all had a hoppy holiday weekend! Our book today is The Shapes Of Spring by Jill Howarth, the latest in her series of delightful, season-themed board books.

Spring has sprung, and with it all sorts of things to do! Egg hunts, gardening, flying kites, and generally just getting out to enjoy the warming weather. And as one little bunny does all these things with her fellow animal pals, there are plenty of shapes all around to spot! Circles can be cabbages and fruits in the garden, diamonds are kites and fresh green leaves, and of course all those oval-shaped eggs in the basket! Come along and help little bunny spot all the shapes of spring!

Adorable. Howarth’s early-learning books – which have previously featured letters, numbers, colors, etc. for different seasons and their holidays – are always a bright and colorful treat. And with spring as the subject, her classic storybook- inspired artwork sings with every hue of the rainbow, creating vivid scenes with endearing animal characters and, of course, plenty of shapes to spot. In fact, one of the notable aspects are how MANY shapes included in each spread: there are dozens in each scene, allowing for the board book to be a quick read or a lengthy seek-and-find, depending on what the reader is in the mood for. An egg hunt is included yet not specified as an Easter celebration, and otherwise no specific secular holidays are highlighted. JJ loved the little animals, and I loved encouraging her to find shapes both obvious and more hidden; it made for some great critical thinking. Another winner, 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.)

Egg: A Chasing, Racing Egg Hunt (Jonathan Litton)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Egg: A Chasing, Racing Egg Hunt, written by Jonathan Litton and illustrated by Fhiona Galloway, a sweet Easter board book for little bookworms.

Using the colorful eggs themselves to frame a series of cutouts, the simple rhyming story follows a band of barnyard friends as they hunt for eggs around the farm. Once they’ve found every last one, they pile them together to celebrate… until a cracking sounds reveals a surprise inside!

Easy Easter fun. With large print text, gentle rhymes and a classic rhythm, as well as adorable, brightly colorful animals and environments, this is a great way for little ones to celebrate spring egg hunts. The cutouts add a nice feature visually, as well as providing an easy grip for little hands to turn pages. The length is about what you’d expect from a toddler board book, and JJ loved it! A great little Easter story for the littlest readers, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Egg (Kevin Henkes)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Egg by Kevin Henkes, an adorable story of four little eggs and the surprises they hold inside.

Laid out in graphic-novel style, four colorful eggs sit, waiting to hatch. Soon, three of the eggs crack and open, revealing colorful baby birds. But the birds eventually notice that their fourth friend has yet to hatch. The birds attempt to help the egg along with some pecking, and soon enough they hear a telltale “crack”! But what’s inside the egg is not what they were expecting at all!

This was a simple, fun little book about eggs, patience, and friendship, and we had a lot of fun with it. It’s especially great for very young readers because the text is minimal and repetitive: by the third “peck-peck-peck” panel, JJ was tapping the book and “ek”-ing along with me. The spring-themed color scheme is bright, simple, and visually pleasing, and Henke’s illustrations are as sweet and charming as always. The length is just perfect for babies, and as you can tell from the photo, JJ absolutely loved it! This is an easy and fun springtime read, and we recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!