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.)

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.)

10 Hungry Rabbits (Anita Lobel)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the 10th anniversary reprint of 10 Hungry Rabbits by Anita Lobel, a sweet and simple picture book of numbers, colors, and vegetables.

Ten little rabbits are very, very, VERY hungry! But there are no vegetables in the house for Mama Rabbit’s soup pot! Papa Rabbit encourages the ten little bunnies to head out to the garden and see what they can find. Each bunny finds a different veggie or berry, in increasing numbers and of various colors, allowing Mama and Papa to fix them all a delicious dinner.

Deliciously delightful. Sometimes the simplest concepts work the best, and this colorful combination of color, counting, and produce identification is a perfect example. Utilizing soft, folksy artwork and approachable text, Lobel creates an easy-to-read story for young bookworms that covers a trio of early-learning concepts. The oversized close-up illustrations of the vegetables are especially cool, as is the fact that both Mama and Papa Rabbit help to prepare the meal for their children. The length is great for a quick storytime, and JJ (an aspiring green thumb) really enjoyed this one. Overall, a lovely read, and we recommend 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.)

Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas (Aaron Blabey)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas by Aaron Blabey, the delightfully silly tale of Brian, a piranha with a unique appetite.

As Brian swims towards his piranha pals, they are aghast at what he has with him: a banana. He offers it to his cohorts, who are simply offended. Not discouraged, Brian offers various other fruits and veggies instead, his friends declining emphatically each time – they are PIRANHAS, who eat meat (preferably that of unsuspecting swimmers). At last, Brian convinces his pals to just try some of his delicious fruit, and they begrudgingly go into a feeding frenzy over it. However, they are surprised to find that the fruit is indeed yummy – but still not as yummy as swim trunk-covered bums…

Silly and fun, with a subtle message about eating a balanced diet mixed in. Brian’s unrelenting cheerfulness set against the increasing exasperation of the other piranhas is hilarious, and older kids will love the slightly-but-not-too dark comedy of the hapless swimmers/soon-to-be piranha chow (though, keep in mind, younger kids may be a little troubled about humans about to become lunch). The rhyming text is a lot of fun, even if the main rhyme (piranha-banana) doesn’t quite work as well in an American accent. The illustrations are funny and oddly adorable, the length was great, and JJ loved it. A whimsical tale for the omnivore in all of us, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Allie’s Garden (Marla Osborn & Sabra Chebby)

Hello, friends! Today, we read Allie’s Garden, illustrated by Marla Osborn and written by Sabra Chebby, an adorable little book about fresh veggies and garden critters.

Today, Allie’s mommy has asked her to go out into the garden to fetch some fresh veggies. Allie dons her gloves and boots and sets out, finding fresh veggies and wild animals at every turn. When she goes to pick corn, there’s a cawing crow. Near the lettuce, a bunny munching on greens. At the cucumbers, a garden snake! Allie is not frightened, though; she shoos the beasts away and gathers her veggies, bringing them to her mother. In return, she is surprised with a fresh garden salad made from the fruits (or rather, veggies) of her labor. 

This little board book was incredibly cute, and a lot of fun to read. The simple rhyming text flows well and the story is enjoyable, but the star of the show is the art. The illustrations combine food photography on fresh white backgrounds with the illustrated Allie to create a world of bright natural colors and creatures made of peas, potatoes, carrots and lettuce. The animals are especially creative: a crow constructed from eggplant or a snake made of cucumber are both visually interesting and make the subject of vegetables fun and interesting for little readers. The length was perfect, and JJ really enjoyed it! This is a creative and clever way to get little ones interested in fresh veggies, and we loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!