I’m a Little Snowman (Hannah Elliot)

Hello, friends! Our book today is I’m a Little Snowman, written by Hannah Elliot and illustrated by Anna Daviscourt, a wonderful – and surprisingly inclusive – wintry twist on a classic nursery rhyme.

Metered to “I’m a Little Teapot,” this snowpeople-themed board book thrives on answering a few simple questions: what do snow buds look like? What do they like the wear? What do they like to do? The conclusion? There are some similarities, some differences, but once the snow falls, nothing matters but having some fun!

Delightful! Hannah Eliot excels at board boards that explore seasonal themes in simple yet quirky ways, such as this snowperson cover of a well-known melody that allows for an engaging and upbeat reading experience. Yet what makes this title truly special is its subtle nod to genders beyond the binary; while two characters identify themselves as a snowman and snow gal, the third identifies themself as a “snow pal.” Combined with the versions snowpeople’s diverse body types and physical features (the snow gal sports glasses and a hairdo that strongly resembles afro puffs, for instance), and the story also imparts an understated but important lesson on inclusivity that is toned perfectly to the audience and subject matter. Daviscourt’s charming illustrations contribute to this concept wonderfully, visually making each snowperson completely distinct and absolutely adorable. The length is perfect for a quick read, and JJ loved it. A fantastic read for little ones, and a great holiday gift – we highly 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.)

Bright Winter Night (Alli Brydon)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Bright Winter Night, written by Alli Brydon and illustrated by Ashling Lindsay, a sweet, woodland midwinter tale.

There’s magic in the air of the forest tonight, and a group of animal friends are gathering to prepare for a special journey. Each species has their own specialty, and as they work with haste, the reader slowly realizes that they are building a sled. Once their mode of conveyance is complete, the wolf pack takes the reins and pulls the furred and feathered friends towards their destination through the hilly snowdrifts. After a slight mishap of the overturning variety, the friends arrive at the end of their journey: a clearing that’s ideal for viewing the stunning Northern lights.

Sweet and simple seasonal fare. Everyone loves a tale of woodland friends coming together to celebrate the season in some way, and this gentle story is an enjoyable addition to the genre. Brydon’s rhyming text is nicely balanced between whimsical and tranquil, befitting of the industrious animal characters in their chilly nighttime setting, which Lindsay’s watercolor-and-digital art bring to life with rich simplicity and charming detail. The length is great for a storytime, and JJ enjoyed the story’s cozy winter vibes. There is one line of text (“together they have built this sleigh/no one hunter, no one prey”) that raises some distracting questions on the typical dynamics of this animal crew, but that’s likely something only adults will notice. Otherwise, this is a lovely, engaging seasonal tale that any young reader can enjoy. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Snow Angel, Sand Angel (Lois-Ann Yamanaka)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Snow Angel, Sand Angel, written by Lois-Ann Yamanaka and illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky, a unique twist on the concept of “the grass is always greener”.

Claire has lived her entire life, like her father and grandfather, on the Big Island of Hawai’i; yet what would be considered a paradise for so many is a sometimes a source of frustration for Claire. When she and her brother Timbo have a school project on the seasons, Claire is irritated to be assigned “winter”; she’s never even seen real snow. Her father offers to take her to the top of Mauna Kea to see the snow there, but Claire is disappointed to find that the rocky mountainscape is nothing like the winter wonderlands in her books or on tv. She wishes she could be a snow angel, and fly somewhere with a “real” winter. Yet, on New Year’s Eve, her family has a beach day, and through some inventive play – and time spent with her family – Claire begins to appreciate the unique and beautiful charms of her home.

One-of-a-kind. Created by an author and illustrator who themselves were born, raised, and live in Hawai’i, the authenticity and affection in the portrayal of Claire’s connection to the islands is palpable. Particularly engaging is Claire’s attitude towards the island’s warm climate, and how a child wishing for a white winter might resent this, even while appreciating her family’s heritage and history with her home. It’s a fantastic opportunity for young readers to examine a perspective outside their own – or for readers who may also experience this frustration, an opportunity to feel heard. The illustrations are gorgeous, filled with color palettes and styles that evoke Hawaiian culture and folk art. A glossary with pronunciation guide in the backmatter is highly appreciated for haoles like me who might be reading aloud. The story is lengthy and best for older elementary readers, but JJ enjoyed the story a lot, as did I. This is a wonderfully unique story, and definitely worth checking out – Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Share Some Kindness, Bring Some Light (Apryl Stott)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Share Some Kindness, Bring Some Light by Apryl Stott, a sweet wintertime story of kindness and acceptance.

Coco (a little girl) and her best friend Bear (a bear) are a different as night and day. Coco is brave and outgoing, Bear is gentle and shy. What they both have in common, however, is that they are kind; in fact, it’s what they like best about each other. So when Coco finds out that the other animals in Bear’s forest are afraid and distrusting of him, she is flabbergasted – who could be afraid of her sweet Bear? Drawing inspiration from her grandmother’s favorite saying, Coco plans a campaign to show the forest animals what a wonderful friend Bear can be. But will kindness and light be enough to convince the others to look past Bear’s appearance?

Warm and delightful. Stott creates an original and memorable fable about unfair assumptions, told by immensely lovable characters and in a gorgeous winter woodland setting. There are some expositional moments that are a little lacking (more focus could have been pulled to the unexpected use of the lanterns that Bear and Coco made during the climax, for instance), but otherwise the story is a solid argument for not judging others by appearance or “race” (several characters are mistrusting of Bear not only because he is big, but explicitly because they do not believe bears to be trustworthy). The illustrations are lovely and the characters charming, especially the gentle-eyed Bear, who absolutely stole our hearts. The length is great for a storytime, and JJ really enjoyed it. A nice nondenominational wintertime story about the importance of kindness to others, 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.)

Hooray for Snowy Days! (Susan Kantor)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Hooray for Snowy Days!, written by Susan Kantor and illustrated by Katya Longhi, a sweet and wintery board book from the creators of Here Comes Fall!

When snow days arrive, there’s plenty to celebrate: hats, mittens, and sturdy boots; going sledding, making snowmen and snow angels; sipping delicious hot cocoa and going for a sleigh ride. But best of all is sharing all these snow day activities with the ones closest to us!

Another sweet and simple yet thoroughly charming board book from Kantor and Longhi, starring the same cast of woodland friends from Here Comes Fall! Once again, there’s nothing here that breaks the mold: a cast of cuddly forest critters scamper through a snowy landscape and partake in festive seasonal activities. And again, this basic premise is done very well by the author and illustrator: Kantor’s rhyming text is bouncy, well-metered and enjoyable to read aloud, and Longhi’s illustrations are cheerful, warm, and undeniably sweet. No holidays are alluded to in this one, making this a nice nondenominational wintertime tale for very small bookworms. It’s a great length for a quick read, and JJ loved the artwork and snowy-day activities. Overall, a simple and familiar subject covered with obvious affection and joy, and absolutely work a look. Baby Bookworm approved!

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